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22nd July 2019
It has taken Avengers: Endgame 13 weeks, and in that time it has broken almost every box office record, but this weekend it gets the biggest prize of all and beats Avatar to become the highest grossing movie of all time.
Avatar released in 2009 has held the honor for the last 10 years with a total gross of $2.789 Billion from its initial release and all subsequent releases but Avengers: Endgame hits a gross of $2.790 Billion this Saturday.
There was a time when it was thought the gross would never be beaten and despite the former top grossing movie Titanic getting a re-release and pushing its gross over $2 Billion and Star Wars: The Force Awakens having a good go back in 2015 neither were good enough.
There is every possibility that the total global gross will continue to grow and although it seems unlikely now who knows it could be the first film to get to $3 Billion.
Although the gross of the film has beaten Avatar the ticket sales, or adjusted for inflation as its often known as, is still a way from Avatar which would have grossed $3.273 Billion were it released today, although Gone With The Wind from 1939 is still on top of that list.
It is only a matter of time before we get the first $3 Billion film, and hence beating Avenger: Endgame but for the time being Disney and Marvel can enjoy this mighty task.
This week The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey nudges it's way past the $1 Billion world box office taking mark making it 15th film that has made it past the milestone.
This is an interesting group of films but the group is becoming less and less elite as time goes on, like the magic $100 million mark of time past.
The first film to manage the feat was Titanic back in 1998, and it held the record as the only film to have done it until 2003 when The Return of the King managed it. Since then, and with the introduction of 3D where you are charged more for your ticket, we have had 13 other films make the grade.
Of the 15, 8 had a 3D releases as well as a 2D release, 4 were released in 2012, 2 have made over $2 Billion, 1 made it over the billion mark after it's 3D re-release last year, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and 1 was released in about 6 different formats.
The $1 Billion club is bound to grow and grow so chart watchers are now looking for the next flurry of films to make over $2 Billion, a hard task of which only 1 film has truly made it without a re-release, but that had a 3D tax, Avatar.
These figures are not adjusted for inflation in ticket prices, this is a hotly debated subject, but it is generally accepted that the highest grossing film of all time if ticket sales had always been at today's prices would be Gone With the Wind, whic would today gross $3.2 Billion at the box office, in fact the top 15 would look something more like this
The accolades for Avatar just keep on rolling as this weeks total gross for the movie easily takes it past Mamma Mia's gross to make it the highest grossing film in the UK ever.
It took 11 years to topple Camerons previous king of the world, Titanic, and in 2008 Mamma Mia! just edged past the 1997 epics gross of £69,025,646 with £69,166,087 but now Avatar, a mere 18 months later, passes the £70 million mark to become the UK's top grossing movie.
Now Avatar is the first film to go past the 70 million mark in the UK the race is on the become the first film to get past £100 million, although Avatar is still going well with a weekly gross in the region of about £6 million surely it cant get to the magic figure, but I wouldn't bet against it at the moment.
With half term coming and the possibilities of BAFTA and Oscar awards who knows it could just edge it's way past the milestone.
Of course the thing we need to look at for a full picture is cinema attendance and I'm afraid that's one are where Avatar lacks, about 13 million people in the UK have seen the film, Mamma Mia is just ahead with just over 13.5 million tickets sold, whereas Titanic is way ahead with over 18 million people seeing the film at the cinema, of course none come close to the champion on this list, Gone with the Wind, with around 35 million tickets sold.
No one can deny Camerons achievement with Avatar and it still has a way to go.
He was the first writer/director to get a film past the $1 Billion world gross mark with a single film and this week James Cameron becomes the first writer/director to pass the $2 Billion dollar mark in world box office takings, with a single film.
James Cameron must be having a good year, his return to film making after a 12 year break has beaten his own box office landmark film Titanic, all in the same week that 12 years after he won his first Oscar, he's nominated for another, although he has tougher competition this time (his ex-wife!).
In 1998 he set the box office alight and Titanic took $1.8 Billion in box office grosses, passing a milestone figure that took another 5 years before a film would pass it again, and this week another milestone is set as Avatars gross reaches $2 Billion, but unlike Titanic in 1998 Avatar still has some mileage left in it.
With the rate of tickets being sold the possibility of Avatar reaching $2.5 Billion is not out of the question, $3 Billion could be a stretch thought.
To look at this correctly though we need to take into consideration inflation, cinema tickets cost nearly half the price in 1998 as they do in 2010, which means that per head watching Titanic on the big screen it's probably still ahead of Avatar, but the gap is certainly closing fast.
Titanic of course isn't by a long shot the biggest film by the number of tickets sold, that honor goes to Gone With the Wind, which may never be beaten. Another thing to remember, boosting Avatar's box office takings is the appalling extra charge for the glasses if you choose to see the film in 3D. So until Cameron's next film Avatar will probably sit pretty as the only film to gross anywhere near $3 Billion pound?