‘Avatar’ reclaims title as biggest-selling movie of all time

March 11, 2021

by Carla Hay

Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in “Avatar” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Thanks to a 2021 re-release in China, the 2009 sci-fi epic “Avatar” (from 20th Century Fox) has reclaimed the title as the world’s biggest-selling movie of all time for ticket sales. In 2019, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” had broken this ultimate box-office record, with $2.797 billion in worldwide ticket sales, compared to Avatar’s then-total gross of $2.790 billion. With the re-release of “Avatar” on March 9, 2021, worldwide ticket sales for “Avatar” currently stands at $2.84 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. In the U.S. and Canada, ticket sales for “Avatar” total $760.5 million, while the total for “Avengers: Endgame” is $858.4 million.

Directed by James Cameron, “Avatar” tells the story of a paraplegic U.S. Marine named Jake Sullivan (played by Sam Worthington), who is sent to the planet Pandora. Using an avatar disguise to fit in with the residents, he encounters conflicts about his mission and other choices when he falls in love with a Pandora resident named Neytiri (played by Zoe Saldana). The movie’s cast also includes Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang and Michelle Rodriguez. “Avatar” was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The movie ended up winning three Oscars: Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects.

“Avengers: Endgame” easily became the world’s highest-grossing movie of the 2010s decade, surpassing 2014’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” whose ticket sales totaled $914 million in the U.S. and Canada and $2.1 billion worldwide. (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is still the No. 1-selling movie of all time in the U.S. and Canada.) “Avengers: Endgame” then became the world’s No. 2 highest-grossing movie of all time, surpassing 1997’s “Titanic,” which had $659 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales and a total haul of $2.2 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

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