Speed Reads

king of the world

Avatar becomes the highest-grossing film of all time again after re-release in China

James Cameron is once again taking his seat on the box office throne.

Cameron's 2009 blockbuster Avatar has become the highest-grossing film of all time again, reclaiming the title from Avengers: Endgame in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic following a re-release in China, Deadline reports.

Avatar held the title of highest-grossing movie ever for nearly 10 years until July 2019, when Marvel's Avengers: Endgame finally surpassed it. Endgame's global box office total stands at $2,797,501,328, but according to Deadline, a re-release of Avatar has grossed $8.9 million in China as of Saturday, taking Cameron's movie back over the top with $2,798,579,794. China has been "experiencing unprecedented box office demand," Variety notes, even as U.S. box office totals have remained low with major blockbusters delayed.

Before Avatar, the title of highest-grossing film in history was previously held by another Cameron blockbuster, Titanic, for about a decade. These records aren't adjusted for inflation, as with inflation taken into account, the highest-grossing film of all time is still Gone with the Wind.

So will Avatar spend another decade at number one? Maybe, but it seems possible Endgame, too, will before long get a theatrical re-release, allowing it to leapfrog past Avatar once again. But both Avatar and Endgame are owned by Disney, meaning that even as the two films battle at the box office, whoever loses, the mouse wins.