'Avatar' retakes box office crown from 'Avengers: Endgame' after China rerelease

  • "Avatar" first became the top-selling global release of all time in 2010 when it usurped Cameron's "Titanic."
  • In 2019, "Avengers: Endgame" won the title with a $2.797 billion box office haul.
  • As of Saturday, "Avatar's" box office gross surpassed $2.802 billion, allowing it to earn back its crown.

"Avatar" is once again the highest-grossing film of all time.

Over the weekend, James Cameron's sci-fi epic was rereleased in China and garnered enough in ticket sales to overtake "Avengers: Endgame" for the record.

"Avatar" first became the top-selling global release of all time in 2010 when it usurped Cameron's "Titanic." In 2019, "Avengers: Endgame" won the title with a $2.797 billion box office haul.

As of Saturday, "Avatar's" box office gross surpassed $2.802 billion, allowing it to earn back its crown.

"These two titans of cinema have been dueling on box-office Mt. Olympus for years," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. "As 'Avatar' once again takes the crown, the importance of the big screen experience both in terms of its cultural impact and of course its massive revenue generating power is brought into sharper focus."

The directors of "Endgame," Joe and Anthony Russo, took to social media to congratulate Cameron.

"Passing the gauntlet back to you," they wrote in the post.

Originally part of the rereleases preapproved by China's Film Bureau in 2020, the 2009 sci-fi epic remained in Disney's vault during the ongoing pandemic.

While China has been able to regain some ticket sales in recent months, its rollout of new blockbuster features has slowed in the wake of its Chinese New Year celebrations. Adding "Avatar" to its theaters is a way to drum up attendance and give operators a much needed boost at a time when new films are not being released.

"We are proud to reach this great milestone, but Jim and I are most thrilled that the film is back in theaters during these unprecedented times, and we want to thank our Chinese fans for their support," said producer Jon Landau. "We are hard at work on the next Avatar films and look forward to sharing the continuation of this epic story for years to come."

The first new film in the Avatar franchise is slated for release in 2022. It will be one of five coming in the next decade. Disney only recently acquired "Avatar," although the film had previously been licensed to build a land at the Animal Kingdom theme park in Florida.

In 2019, Disney finalized its deal to acquire entertainment assets from 20th Century Fox, including James Cameron's "Avatar."

As it stands, Disney owns the top five highest-grossing films of all time and eight of the top ten. Notably, "Titanic," which currently sits in third was a joint production between Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox. The other films are "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Avengers: Infinity War," 2019′s live-action remake of "The Lion King," "Avengers" and "Frozen II."

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