Thanks to a two-week re-release in more than 40 markets ahead of December’s eagerly anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, director James Cameron’s Avatar has become the first movie in history to reach $2.9 billion at the global box office. The most recent re-release has increased the movie’s overall revenue to $2.905 billion with domestic sales of $18 million and international sales of an additional $39 million.
After Spider-Man: No Way Home ($814 million), Avengers: Endgame ($858 million in 2019), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936 million in 2015), the movie’s current domestic gross of approximately $780 million ranks as the fourth-highest of all time. The domestic total for Avatar, adjusted for inflation, is $916 million, according to the box office statistics website The Numbers.
After its record-breaking initial run, which started in 2009, the movie has since been re-released in theatres four times. Avatar didn’t have the largest opening weekend, earning $77 million, which was second most for December at the time (behind I Am Legend). The science-fiction epic, however, proved to have extraordinary staying power over the following few months, eventually surpassing Cameron’s own Titanic to become the most successful movie ever, both domestically and globally. The franchise is denied any cultural influence, although the continued interest over the past ten years contradicts this.
In 2011, a special expanded edition with an international gross of approximately $45 million was launched in theatres. In 2020, a minor re-release with a focus on APAC regions was conducted; in 2021, a re-release with a focus on China was conducted. In 2009, the movie was a huge smash in the Middle Kingdom, but the tide completely turned ten years later. China became the world’s greatest film market during that time, luring top Hollywood productions to play exclusively to Chinese audiences. However, fewer goods are now permitted to be shown there due to harsher penalties in the post-pandemic era.
This most recent re-release helped Avatar maintain its dominance as the highest-grossing movie ever worldwide. It momentarily lost the top rank to Endgame until taking it back in 2021 with the re-release in China. The whole sum for Endgame is $2.797 billion. Titanic ($2.2 billion), The Force Awakens ($2.06 billion), and Avengers: Infinity War ($2.04 billion) round out the top five films of all time.