UPDATED 3/13 1:00 p.m. ET: The Chinese re-release of James Cameron’s massively successful Avatar has pushed it over the edge to reclaim its position as the highest-grossing film ever.
Deadline reports on Saturday that Disney has confirmed Avatar is the highest-grossing film at the global box office, a title it initially lost to Avengers: Endgame in 2019. The reissue of the film in China only began on Friday, and it has already brought in an estimated $12.3 million since. The worldwide gross for Avatar now sits at an impressive $2.802 billion, while Endgame sits at $2.797 billion.
"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 Avatar 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."
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Avatar has found its way to the big screen once again in China this weekend with the country anticipating a huge post-COVID box office turnout. Deadline reports that on Friday, the film made $3.5 million, making the country’s estimated sales total $209.9 million. Avatar also saw a big Saturday, bringing the weekend’s working total to $5.8 million.
Arriving in July 2019, Endgame held the spot for 18 months, pulling in worldwide sales of $2,789.2 billion that month. The Marvel film grossed $858.37 million domestically and $1.939 billion internationally for a $2.797 billion total. Comparatively, Avatar stood at $760.5 million, $2.029 billion overseas, and $2.789 billion worldwide. When Avatar released in 2009, it dethroned the 1997 film Titanic, with Avatar assuming the title until Endgame arrived 10 years later.
In September, Avatar director James Cameron announced that filming for Avatar 2 was finished.
“Well, [COVID-19] hit us like it hit everybody,” Cameron said at the time. “We lost about four and a half months of production. As a result of that, we’ve rolled around one more full year for a release in December of . That’s been announced already. Now, that doesn’t mean that I have an extra year to finish the film because the day we deliver Avatar 2 we’ll just start working on finishing Avatar 3. So where we are right now, I’m down in New Zealand shooting. We’re shooting the remainder of the live action. We’ve got about 10 percent left to go. We’re 100 percent complete on Avatar 2 and we’re sort of 95 percent complete on Avatar 3.”
The film’s second chapter is set to arrive on Dec. 16, 2022, with part 3 scheduled for Dec. 20, 2024, part 4 for Dec. 18, 2026, and part five for Dec. 22, 2028.