It's been a year since Avengers: Endgame opened in theaters, the culmination of almost a dozen years and over twenty films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film became a massive hit for Disney, taking not only the title of biggest-grossing film in the MCU, but it went on to be the top box office performer of all time, taking the crown from James Cameron's Avatar. It was -- and still is -- a huge accomplishment and it may be one that is never matched thanks, in part, to the coronavirus pandemic.
As Yahoo! Entertainment points out, even when the world emerges from the pandemic life is not going to go back to "normal". Normal as we now define it no longer exists. Because of the pandemic, businesses all across the country (and the world) have been closed including movie theaters. There are businesses that will not survive those closures which means that there could very well be fewer movie theaters for the films that debut after the pandemic to screen in. Those theaters that do reopen may find themselves with fewer patrons as well as it's been suggested that social distancing measures will need to continue beyond 2021 in order to prevent new outbreaks of COVID-19.
Fewer screens and fewer patrons will make it much harder for any new film to hit Endgame's staggering $2.8 billion worldwide box office. But it's more than just the economics of a post-pandemic world that will make it harder to beat Endgame at the box office. How people opt to enjoy movies itself is primed to change as well. The pandemic has prompted studios to release some films that had been slated for theatrical release instead hit VOD and streaming, already seeking to make their mark on movies well before coronavirus, is also having its moment. Those things will factor in.
There's also the idea that how Hollywood approaches movies may change going forward, too. Studios may not be as willing to make big-budget films like Endgame after coronavirus with all of the questions that remain about the state of movie theaters and how confident moviegoers will be about getting back into theaters. For studios, it could be a safe bet for a while after the pandemic to stick to smaller budget releases in the hope of making more modest profits as opposed to putting out huge films that could be real contenders to take down Endgame only for the shifts in our reality to leave them deeply in the red.
Ultimately, only time will tell but for now, Avengers: Endgame looks like it will stay at the top of the box office for quite some time to come.