The moment that many Marvel fans have long awaited is finally here. At a panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, Marvel chief Kevin Feige announced that Avengers: Endgame passed James Cameron's Avatar this past weekend to become the highest-grossing film of all time, raking in $2.79 billion at the box office.
"Thanks to you, Avengers: Endgame is the biggest film of all time," Feige told the Marvel faithful assembled in Hall H at the Marvel panel.
Taking down the champ
The record comes just weeks after Disney made the decision to rerelease Endgame with a deleted scene, a tribute to the late Stan Lee, and a post-credits sequence featuring scenes from Sony's Spider-Man: Far From Home. Marvel added the additional footage to kick off the rerelease on June 28, hoping it would be enough to draw fans back to the multiplex and give the film the final push it needed to topple Cameron's fantasy epic, a strategy that ultimately paid off.
Many industry watchers believed that Avatar's record would remain unbroken -- even after the decision to rerelease Endgame.
For all its worldwide box office might, however, Endgame is still just the second-highest-grossing movie in North America, amassing $853 million in domestic box office, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- another Disney property -- with $936 million.
The Marvel boss also tipped his hat to Avatar's decade-long feat in holding the top spot, saying that "he'll probably get the title again as soon as he puts out another movie," referring to Avatar 2, which is currently scheduled to be released in December 2021. It's also worth noting that, with its acquisition of the film and television assets of Twenty-First Century Fox earlier this year, Disney now controls the Avatar franchise, so this is nothing more than a bit of sibling rivalry at the House of Mouse.
"A huge congratulations to the Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios teams, and thank you to the fans around the world who lifted Avengers: Endgame to these historic heights," Disney chairman Alan Horn said in a Disney press release to mark the occasion.
Joe and Anthony Russo, who directed the superhero team-up movie, sent out a grateful tweet to fans acknowledging the milestone:
To the greatest fans in the universe, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you...https://t.co/MRKEKaKvVW-- Russo Brothers (@Russo_Brothers) July 21, 2019
Disney's box office reign will continue
Disney dominated ticket sales in 2018 as the movie industry hit a new watermark of $11.9 billion in domestic ticket sales and $41.7 billion worldwide take -- with Disney commanding $7.33 billion -- nearly 18% of the global total. That was also the second-biggest box office generated by any studio in history, behind only Disney's record-breaking performance in 2016, which nabbed $7.61 in ticket sales.
The company's multipronged strategy will likely ensure its reign at the multiplex for years to come. This includes alternating a new Star Wars film with an Avatar entry during the Christmas holidays in the coming years, building out its Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing new characters, and continuing its practice of remaking classic animated tales as live-action features -- like its recent releases of The Lion King and Aladdin. It also includes a new Pixar film every year, adding to the studio's nearly unmatched record for success.
The Avengers: Endgame box office milestone is cause for celebration among not only diehard Marvel fans but Disney investors as well.