Superhero blockbuster Avengers: Endgame has officially become the biggest movie of all time, Disney confirmed on Sunday, ending the 10-year reign of James Cameron’s Avatar atop the global box office.
The epic finale to Disney-owned Marvel’s 22-movie Infinity Saga story-arc took in an estimated $1.5 million at home and abroad in its 13th weekend to bring its total since its April 26 release to $2.7902 billion. Avatar, released in 2009, made $2.7897 billion, including its original theatrical run and various re-releases.
Marvel Studios and its parent company pre-empted the announcement on Saturday, revealing that Endgame was just $500,000 behind as of Friday, and would “close this gap by tomorrow.”
The coronation of Endgame was timed to coincide with the appearance of Marvel president Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic-Con, the world’s biggest pop culture fan convention. “You have to shout out to James Cameron, who held that title for a long time,” Feige said. “If you adjust for inflation he still holds the title, and he’ll probably get the title again as soon as he puts out another movie. But for right now… Avengers: Endgame is the biggest film of all time.”
Both films are now owned by Disney following its takeover of 21st Century Fox.
Endgame drew a sky-high 94 percent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website and features a star-studded cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper and Josh Brolin. The fourth and final chapter in the adventures of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and company cost around $500 million to make, including marketing costs.
It set a new standard for Hollywood blockbusters in its opening weekend with stunning hauls of $357 million in North America and $1.2 billion worldwide.
Packed with spectacular fight scenes, special effects, gags and tear-jerking moments, it almost doubled the previous world record opening weekend take held by its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War. Among the many other superlatives thrown in Marvel’s direction, Endgame was the widest release in North American history, showing on 4,662 screens in the U.S. and Canada.
Disney co-chairman Alan Horn thanked “fans around the world who lifted Avengers: Endgame to these historic heights.”
“Of course, even with the passage of a decade, the impact of James Cameron’s Avatar remains as powerful as ever, and the astonishing achievements of both of these films are ongoing proof of the power of movies,” he added.
Back on Earth, the roar of The Lion King rattled the cinematic world as the new Disney film scored a huge debut in North American theaters with an estimated $185 million for the three-day weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported. The Lion King, director Jon Favreau’s update of the classic 1994 animated film, notched the biggest domestic launch ever for a PG-rated film, and an all-time record for a July release, the Hollywood Reporter said. Worldwide, the movie has passed the half-billion-dollar mark.
The film employs hyper-realistic computer-generated images and has a voice cast including Donald Glover as Simba and Beyonce as Nala, as well as Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and James Earl Jones.
Well back in second place was Sony’s Spider-Man: Far From Home at $21 million. The latest installment in the blockbuster franchise picks up where Avengers: Endgame left off, with Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man atop a cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal—and Favreau.
In third was Toy Story 4, taking in $14.6 million in its fifth week out while fourth spot went to Paramount’s Crawl, at $6 million.
The disaster thriller tells the story of a father and daughter (Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario) battling hungry gators after a hurricane hits their Florida town.
And in fifth was Universal’s Yesterday, at $5.1 million. The sweet comedy is based on the entertaining if fantastic premise of a struggling musician (Himesh Patel) suddenly becoming one of the only people on Earth who remembers the Beatles.