After Avengers: Endgame defied all expectations in its debut weekend at the box office, the question remains — will it have enough legs to take down James Cameron's Avatar? To date, Endgame has grossed over $1.21 billion worldwide, around 44 percent of Avatar's total box office haul. Before we get too carried away and guarantee Endgame will become the highest-grossing movie to ever hit theaters, let's break down the numbers a bit.
At the end of its box office run, Avatar ended up making an Earth-shattering $2.78b — a record still standing ten years later. In fact, the closest film with a shot at beating the record has been Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which finished at $2.06b, thanks to a record-setting domestic haul. Despite lukewarm reactions from fans and critics alike, Avatar was one of the first movies to take full advantage of the RealD 3D technology at just the right time, giving the production an insane word-of-mouth campaign that furthered the legs of the release deeper into its run. When all was said and done, Avatar finished with a worldwide multiplier of 11.5x, something practically unheard of when it comes to major blockbuster releases.
Most industry experts would suggest a common blockbuster multiplier at this point in time — at least for a major superhero release — would end up in the range of 2.5x to 3.5x. Using that and the information we've learned from the opening weekend of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Studios production could end up anywhere from $2.42b to $4.23b.
Now, before you get too excited, very few movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe get towards the higher end of that multiplier range. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) finished with a 4.8x multiplier worldwide while Black Panther (2018) ended up at 3.6x. All things considered, Avengers: Endgame is performing far superior to either Guardians or Black Panther so it's entirely possible the film ends up with a bigger multiplier, absolutely shattering Avatar's current record.
Let's choose a multiplier out of the middle of that range to compare it to, say Avengers: Infinity War, for example. Infinity War ended up with a similarly strong start before finishing off with a worldwide multiplier of 3.18x. Say Endgame finishes with the same enthusiasm of its immediate predecessor and carries the same amount of legs throughout its run and the latest Avengers flick would still end up with a total worldwide haul of $3.84b — an amount that would certainly shatter Avatar's current position at the top of the chart.
Avengers: Endgame is now in theaters.
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