Marvel Studios and the Russo Brothers have officially congratulated James Cameron and the crew behind Avatar as the movie reclaimed the title of "highest-grossing film of all time" from Avengers: Endgame. Cameron's film was released back in 2009 and received critical acclaim for its innovative and immersive use of 3D technology. The film quickly became a box office hit - overtaking Cameron's Titanic as the highest-grossing film of all time. Avatar broke numerous worldwide and domestic box office records and became the highest-grossing movie of all time only 41 days after it was released. The film brought in $2.789 billion during its first theatrical run.
Back in 2019, Avatar lost the throne to Avengers: Endgame. The film served as a culmination for over a decade of stories from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and had an unprecedented level of hype and anticipation leading to its release. Endgame ended its theatrical run with a box office take of $2.798 billion. Things seemed set in stone for a while - especially as the COVID-19 pandemic started and movie-going grinded to a halt worldwide. However, in March 2021, it was revealed that Avatar would be getting a surprise theatrical re-release in China. Only days into its new run, Avatar officially reclaimed its spot as the highest-grossing film of all time.
Now, Marvel Studios and the Russo Brothers tweeted out a congratulations to Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and the entire Avatar crew since the film surpassed Endgame. This move mirrors a similar tweet Cameron himself sent out after Endgame overtook Avatar back in 2019. No ill will seems to be held on Marvel's part, as the studio ended their tweet with "We love you 3000," - a fun reference to a line from Endgame. The Russo's tweet stated that they were "passing the gauntlet back" to Cameron, and included a neat Endgame and Avatar mash-up done by BossLogic.
This news comes at a time where, after over ten years, the long-awaited Avatar 2 will finally see a release in the not-too-distant future. Cameron had announced plans for multiple films back in 2009, but preliminary shooting for the sequel didn't start until 2017. The film was shot for 3 years - and production was delayed due to COVID-19 - but Avatar 2 finally finished principal photography in September 2020.
Avatar's ability to reclaim its title over a decade after its initial release serves as a good omen for the future of the franchise. With five sequels planned, the world of the Na'vi needs to be able to retain audience's attention for potentially decades to come. However, the film's place in the box office hierarchy is likely safe for the time being. Even if Marvel re-released Endgame, the film's relatively recent initial release makes it unlikely that it would reach high enough numbers to gain the number one spot again. At least for the foreseeable future, Avatar will probably hold onto its title as the highest-grossing film of all time.
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