Avengers: Endgame, a movie about a bunch of beautiful superheroes being sad and breaking the timeline, is now the most financially successful movie of all time. It’s been a long road, but we have finally reached the endgame: and really, the winner all along has been Mickey Mouse.
After one theatrical re-release and months at the box office, Avengers: Endgame has officially earned $2.79 billion worldwide, making it the most lucrative theatrical release ever. (At least, if you’re not adjusting for inflation. If you are, it ranks at 16, according to Box Office Mojo, but, still.)
This means that the film, the culmination of a decade of Marvel Studios filmmaking and hype, has edged out Avatar – a franchise that Disney now also owns after its acquisition of Fox earlier this year – from its decade-long reign as the top-grossing film, with $2.789 billion.
This is obviously a huge deal for Marvel – it’s a validation of their dominance of the cultural sphere, a monument to what you can do with the resources of one of the largest media monopolies ever behind you. It’s also, frankly, a handy receipt that more than lets you get away with managing to bring down Hall H at Comic-Con with the announcement that Angelina Jolie will play an obscure Jack Kirby character basically created as a riff of other obscure characters Kirby created for Marvel’s comics rival, DC Comics. It also seems to be a big deal to fans, for reasons I don’t quite understand, as many have been rooting excitedly for this to happen for a while. Brand loyalty is a hell of a drug, I suppose.
What this means going forward is probably a lot more Marvel movies, with as much money and talent behind them as Disney can muster. It also probably means that, somewhere, today, James Cameron is probably working on one of several Avatar sequels, feeling just a teeny little bit annoyed. Maybe you’ll get ‘em next time, James. For now, the Avatar twitter decided to be a bit more diplomatic, sharing a message including the bizarre imagery of Iron Man being fondled by Pandoran fauna:
– Avatar (@officialavatar) July 22, 2019
The suspicious timing of this particular Endgame news dropping on the weekend of San Diego Comic-Con aside (the night of Marvel’s big panel, in fact), it was not the only box office boon Walt Disney recently got to celebrate.
Box Office Mojo reports that despite lacklustre critical appraisal, Jon Favreau’s CG remake of the beloved animated classic The Lion King raked in a record-setting $185 million in its opening weekend. The movie takes the record for the best July opener from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – a movie in a franchise that Walt Disney has somehow yet to acquire, but would probably really like to – which it had held since 2011.
What does that mean? Well, that we can likely expect Disney to continue to chew through its ‘90s animated renaissance with a reckless abandon for remakes. Aladdin and The Lion King already came and went this year, with the upcoming Mulan and the currently-casting The Little Mermaid already on the way. How long until the decidedly uncomfortable idea of a Pocahontas remake gets announced?
We’ll have to wait and see, I suppose. Anything goes in the world of Mickey Mouse.