The 2009 James Cameron production "Avatar" has regained its title as the highest-grossing film of all time thanks to a weekend release in China that pumped an additional $12.3 million into its box office coffers.
Still Filling Theaters: "Avatar" opened in December 2009 and grossed $2.78 billion by the end of its theatrical release, breaking the $2.19-billion box office record held by "Titanic." The 2019 "Avengers: Endgame" broke the "Avatar" record with a $2.798 billion worldwide gross.
This weekend, "Avatar" was re-released exclusively in China.
Avatar" was among a short list of popular blockbusters sought by China's Film Bureau to encourage moviegoers to return to the nation's cinemas in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film took in $12.3 million, thus upping its box office total to $2.8 billion and dethroning "Avengers: Endgame."
Marvel Studios congratulated Cameron on this achievement by tweeting the message: "Congratulations to @JimCameron ,@JonLandau , and ALL of Na'vi Nation for reclaiming the box office crown! We love you 3000. @OfficialAvatar."
"Avatar" was a 20th Century Fox release during its initial theatrical run, but the property is now owned by Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), which also owns the rights to "Avengers: Endgame."
Frankly, My Dear: While "Avatar" is the top-grossing film when calculating figures with 2021 dollars, inflation-adjusting purists would argue that the 1939 epic "Gone with the Wind" is still the top grossing film of all time, bringing in more than $3 billion in today's money.
The initial December 1939 to July 1940 "Gone with the Wind" release was a special roadshow engagement in limited markets with a higher-than-normal admission price of $1.00 – the average ticket price at the time was 25 cents, which is what theaters charged when the film went into general release after the roadshow engagements ended.
Since its initial run, "Gone with the Wind" was theatrically re-released 11 times, most recently in a weekend engagement in 2014 celebrating the film's 75th anniversary.
A scene from "Avatar." Photo courtesy Disney.