The most anticipated movie of 2019, Avengers: Endgame is finally here! It’s already set a plethora of records and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Endgame is the highest-grossing Marvel film and superhero flick hands down, but can it possibly accomplish a feat that has seemed impossible for so long? Could Avengers: Endgame really be the film that ends James Cameron’s stranglehold on the list of highest-grossing movies of all time?
Let’s start with what made Titanic and Avatar so impressive. Titanic was a revolutionary film for its time and appealed to both male and female viewing tastes. When all was said and done, Titanic grossed over $2.18 billion in 1997 dollars, an incredible feat to say the least. Cameron followed up with Avatar, a perfect storm of a film that came together to create the highest-grossing film of all time. Avatar was a visually-stunning film, even more so than Titanic, that rode the 3-D wave and a lackluster runway (an industry term for the slate of releases that follow a major film’s premiere) all the way to $2.7 billion. Both films also made a killing overseas, which is the real reason for their impressive bankroll. Say what you will about James Cameron’s personality - the man can make a good movie (with the most realistic water effects you can comprehend.)
Endgame hits on some of those same philosophies, but not all of them. Obviously, Endgame is visually stunning (it was filmed with an IMAX camera, after all). As far as an audience is concerned, superhero films aren’t just for guys anymore - Captain Marvel and even Infinity War proved women enjoy comic book movies just as much as men. One would figure Endgame would do well overseas, as Marvel’s reach has only grown into other regions of the world since it was acquired by Disney. Plus, if movies with Western sensibilities like the Fast and the Furious series do well globally, wouldn’t it make sense for a movie like Endgame to succeed as well? Where Endgame has an advantage over the Cameron pair is that it puts the bow on one of the most compelling fictional franchises of all time. Latecomers to the Avengers story arc and those who have been around since Iron Man can all join in together to view the thrilling climax to the story.
About the only thing Endgame has going against it in its pursuit to be number one of all time is that the movies coming out post-April 26 are more enticing than the films that followed Avatar, especially when you consider the Avengers audience. Movies like Detective Pikachu, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, and Aladdin all follow Endgame and might detract from the pool of moviegoers who might otherwise see Endgame multiple times in lieu of seeing a new film. We’re pretty confident that if Endgame had the runway Avatar had, we’d be talking about this movie potentially making $3 billion.
So far, Endgame has grossed over $2.2 billion globally, passing Titanic - and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Until it finally leaves theaters, we can only wonder if Endgame will surpass Avatar to be the highest-grossing film of all time. If the past top dogs are any indication of what it takes to get to the top, we sure hope Endgame has some awesome water effects - they’ll need to keep up with Cameron, after all.