“Avengers: Endgame” Just Beat The $2.12 Billion Box Office Record Set By “Titanic”
But can the Marvel Studios juggernaut topple Avatar?
After just 12 days in theaters worldwide, Avengers: Endgame has surpassed the 21-year global box office record of $2.128 billion held by Titanic to become the second-highest-grossing film in the world, with an estimated $2.189 billion.
Driving Endgame's record haul, of course, is the $619.7 million it has grossed domestically, which also eclipsed the $600.8 million Titanic grossed in its initial theatrical run after opening in December 1997. (The historical, romantic epic grossed an additional $58.6 million in rereleases in 2012 and 2017.)
Even more remarkably, the 22nd film from Marvel Studios has rapidly become the one of the highest-grossing films ever in China, with an astonishing $545.8 million since it opened there on April 24.
Endgame demolished just about every possible box office record when it debuted with $1.22 billion worldwide, including $357 million domestically. The film has since eased off that blistering pace in the US and Canada, however, earning an estimated $145.8 million over its second weekend, which wasn’t quite enough to pass the $149.2 million second weekend record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the Christmas holiday in 2015.
When factoring in ticket price inflation, Marvel's greatest heroes also still have some ground to cover. On Box Office Mojo's chart of inflation-adjusted grosses, the best (if imperfect) measure of a film's overall popularity with domestic audiences, Endgame ranks as roughly the 42nd-highest-grossing film of all time. By comparison, when adjusting for inflation, Titanic grossed roughly $1.16 billion in theaters in the US and Canada in its initial release.
Due to varying ticket price inflation rates and unreliable record-keeping, it's virtually impossible to reasonably adjust for box office inflation worldwide. But the fact that it took 21 years for a second movie, after Avatar, to surpass Titanic's global box office record speaks to the seemingly unstoppable momentum propelling Endgame's financial success.
Now all that's left is Avatar's all-time global box office record of $2.788 billion. Can Endgame best it? After opening in December 2009, Avatar sat at or near the top of the domestic box office through January and February 2010 with virtually zero blockbuster competition, while it raked in a fortune in 3D-ticket surcharges, especially in international markets.
Endgame, by contrast, is facing several major potential blockbusters in the next two months, including Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Aladdin, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Dark Phoenix, and The Secret Life of Pets 2. And as theaters scale back their late night and early morning screenings of Endgame and resume a normal schedule, the film's three-hour runtime will cut down on the number of times it can be shown on a single screen.
Still, Endgame has already earned nearly 79% of Avatar's global record — again, in just 12 days. Ultimately, only the Time Stone will tell.