Will ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Really Beat ‘Avatar?’

Everyone knew that Avengers: Endgame would perform extremely well at the box office. That was something as sure as Iron Man making a snarky joke. However, even Disney/Marvel has been surprised at just how well it’s done.

The movie has already made $621 million in just two weeks in the United States alone. That’s more than most movies, even big hits, make in their entire runs. Add in the international totals, and the numbers are even more impressive: $1.6 billion for a worldwide total of $2.2 billion.

So now the question remains: can it beat James Cameron’s Avatar to become the new all-time box office champ? It’s certainly on the right track.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ did well after the first week

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. | The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

In its second weekend, Endgame made $145.8 million, which makes for a drop of 59%. But when your first weekend was $357 million, that’s a hold that Disney and Marvel can more than live with.

Granted, there wasn’t much competition to speak of. The counter-programming was the home invasion thriller The Intruder, the romcom Long Shot with Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, the poorly reviewed kid pic UglyDolls.

Endgame probably won’t face a serious challenger in its third weekend either. For Mother’s Day, the studios will give us the Anne Hathaway/Rebel Wilson comedy The Hustle, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, the Diane Keaton-led comedy Poms, and Tolkien, the biopic about the Lord of the Rings author. Endgame likely won’t relinquish the #1 throne until Memorial Day weekend, when Aladdin remake opens. Yes, that’s when Disney will beat itself.

There was actually one record that Endgame did not break: the best second weekend. That’s still held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made $149.2 in its second weekend. Endgame was just shy of that, although it’s worth noting that Force Awakens made a mere $247 million when it opened four years ago.

Look out, Pandora. Here comes Marvel

Having obliterated box-office records with blinding speed, Endgame will surely take the box office crown from the Na’vi, while Zoe Saldana smiles at being in both. It’s just a question of when. Right now, Avatar is still out front by about $600 million. Its box office take was $749 million here, and $2.02 billion worldwide, for a total of $2.8 billion.

Endgame stands at number eight in the all-time domestic box office. The leaders are, in ascending order, The Avengers, Jurassic World, Titanic, Infinity War, Black Panther, Avatar and Force Awakens, which is tops at $937 million. But Endgame is already number two worldwide, behind Avatar. This is a prime example of why the studios increasingly value overseas numbers because the bulk of the money is made across the pond.

The tracking site Box Office Guru estimates that Endgame will surpass Avatar around May 20, with a final global tally of $3 billion.

‘Endgame’ probably won’t smash every record

It probably won’t be long before James Cameron creates a cartoon congratulating Disney and Marvel on being the new king of the world. Marvel fans will relish the irony, with Cameron on record as to thinking there are too many superhero movies. But he may not have to do the same with the US box office. Box Office Guru projects that Endgame will ultimately finish second with $875 to $900 million, which will place it behind Force Awakens.  

Not to mention that saga concludes this year also, with December’s release of The Rise of Skywalker. Star Wars is not infallible, as Solo’s underwhelming box office proved, but the conclusion of 40-plus years of fandom is bound to prove potent.

Finally, when you adjust the domestic box office for inflation, the Avengers loom relatively small. For all its success, Endgame is a relatively lowly number 42 right now, just behind Independence Day. It’s got a long way to go before it can catch up with Gone With the Wind at $1.8 billion.