Avatar has sat atop the box office for the past decade, reigning supreme and continually dwarfing any blockbuster a studio throws out. Hauling in a hefty worldwide total of $2.78b, the only movie released after Avatar to come close is Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned $2.06b worldwide. Though Titanic stands between the two films, The Force Awakens still trails the top spot by a full $700 million and then some. While Avatar has sat comfortably on top of the charts for ten-plus years, some analysts think an upcoming movie might have an outside shot at dethroning the 3D darling.
Though Marvel Studios still has it's work cut out with Avengers: Endgame — at least in terms of clutching that top spot — many think the Russo Brothers-helmed movie is the one property of the past decade that has a shot of rising to the top. Throughout the week, we've talked to a few box office insiders and while they all agree taking down Avatar is an uphill battle, nobody wanted to rule out the situation completely.
"I think it's ... doable. I mean, Avengers: Infinity War did $2 billion," says The Numbers' Bruce Nash. "And you have to assume that Avengers: Endgame is going to do that or a little bit more, so the bar is two billion."
"Avatar was close to three billion, something that takes a lot of repeat views. Maybe there'll be something that will cause people to go back to Endgame repeatedly. Some movie's got to do it at some point and this is as good a bet as any, I think."
Exhibitor Relation Co. senior analyst Jeff Bock echoes the sentiment, saying that thanks to larger-than-life presale numbers in various Asian markets, Avengers: Endgame has a fighting chance at taking down the Cameron-directed flick. As Bock points out, Avatar performed exceptionally well overseas, in the very markets where Endgame is already breaking records.
"If this opens at $900 million, a billion worldwide and obviously people love it as much as it's hyped-up for," Bock tells us. "That's a lot of return business...it's going to be very difficult to reach Avatar numbers. Now, that said, if China explodes like every body's talking about, the pre-sales there are even more stratospheric than they are here. Asia has been a huge Marvel component, in terms of the box office lately. If Asia comes through with huge numbers, yeah, we could be looking at something that finally unseats Avatar."
The latest reports from China suggest Endgame has already made around ¥100m ($14.9m) in presale tickets, shattering the previous record set by Furious 8 at ¥62.71m ($9.11m). Chinese box office tracker Gavin Feng notes Endgame ticket pre-sales could end up adding upwards of an additional $5m in the coming days ahead of release.
Avengers: Endgame hits theaters April 26th.
Do you think Avengers: Endgame can take down Avatar? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation online by hitting me up on Twitter at @AdamBarnhardt!
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