20th Century Fox
When Avengers: Endgame surpassed Avatar two years back as history’s highest grossing movie (not adjusted for inflation!), it was by a slim margin. Endgame made $2,797,800,564 worldwide; Avatar made $2,790,439,092. If you don’t want to do the math, that’s a mere $7.82 million difference. So when it was announced that James Cameron’s sci-fi epic was getting a re-release in China this weekend, it seemed all but inevitable that Endgame would have to surrender the throne.
And so it has: According to Deadline, it took all of as day for the Avatar reissue to gross $8.9 million — more than enough to fly by Thanos et al. (In a sense, it’s not that big a deal: Both films are now owned by the same mega-corporation, Disney, who procured Marvel years ago and Fox semi-recently.)
So congrats to Avatar! And just in time for…another year and a half till we see that first of several sequels!
Now here’s where we tell you that technically speaking, neither is really the highest grossing movie ever made — at least when you adjust all grosses for inflation. The winner is still Gone with the Wind, whose total gross in 2021 dollars is $3.7 billion. Avatar came out in 2009, 12 whole years ago, so its gross now would be $3.25 billion — still a ways away from Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Endgame, meanwhile, is only number five — after Titanic, also from James Cameron, but before The Sound of Music. Still, kudos…for now, until Marvel whimsically dumps Endgame back in theaters.