Soul-crushing news for James Cameron: Avatar is now only the second highest-grossing movie of all time. It has been dethroned from the No. 1 spot by Avengers: Endgame, which has officially brought in more global box office sales than Avatar’s $2.7897 billion, according to Marvel Studio’s head Kevin Feige at Comic-Con.
As someone who really enjoyed Avengers: Endgame, I love this news. I imagine this will teach Cameron some lessons about humility and the longterm appeal of movies about blue people—lessons that would be relevant to him, given the setbacks that the four Avatar sequels currently face.
This news also pleases me as someone who has taken great joy in Cameron’s shortcomings since 2010, when his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow won Best Picture at the Oscars for her Jeremy Renner vehicle The Hurt Locker. I saw both Cameron’s Avatar and The Hurt Locker when they came out, and while the Pocahontas-in-space movie was very beautiful to look at, I felt deeply at the time that it shouldn’t win Best Picture.
The Russo brothers, who directed Avengers: Endgame, may not be taking victory laps around Comic-Con while being asked about the news, but I hope they’re doing so in private:
When Joe and Anthony Russo were asked Friday at their AGBO Studios Comic-Con panel about Endgame ultimately conquering Avatar, the latter answered, “The fact that people have responded to Endgame this way and they’ve been following theses characters for so long, it’s cathartic for us to see in that the storytelling has played out globally. James Cameron is an idol for us, and he’s fed our passion for filmmaking from the beginning.”
This paves the way for the next great movie, Cats, to eventually surpass Endgame.