For those still keeping count, Avengers: Endgame earned another $790,000 on Tuesday to bring its 47-day total to $825.825 million in North America. That puts it, as of today, just over the adjusted-for-inflation domestic total of Jurassic Park, putting it in 17th place among all inflation-adjusted grossers. Barring a reissue or a fluke, that could be the MCU movie’s last box office benchmark before it leaves theaters.
For reference, the Steven Spielberg-directed dino blockbuster grossed $357 million in 1993 and 1994. It was the B-movie at the drive-in following Universal’s The Flintstones as late as May of 1994, and it was arguably among the last big movies to get a real boost from the second-run theater business. It earned $45 million in 2013 for a $402 million raw/$825.894 million adjusted total. So, by the end of today, Avengers: Endgame will have sold more tickets, give-or-take 3-D bumps and IMAX boosts, in North America even than Jurassic Park.
Yes, this is an arbitrary box office milestone to be sure. But it’s happening during a time when theatrical movie-going is on the decline in terms of tickets sold and in terms of non-event movies. Avengers: Endgame is the very definition of an all-quadrant event movie and just the sort of thing that audiences still flock to often at the exclusion of everything else. Nonetheless, as much as pundits like myself talk about the 1990’s and 2000s (essentially between Batman in 1989 and The Dark Knight in 2008) as a peak blockbuster period, Avengers 4 has sold more tickets than almost all of the milestone hits of the era.
Avengers: Endgame has, in a Netflix/VOD/YouTube/Twitter/DVD/Facebook era, sold more tickets than Batman, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, The Lion King, Forrest Gump, Independence Day, The Phantom Menace, Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone, Spider-Man, The Return of the King and The Dark Knight. It sold more tickets than any movie released between 1989 and 2019 save for Titanic in 1997, Avatar in 2009 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. Not counting reissues (sorry Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), it has sold more tickets than any summer movie save for Jaws in 1975, Star Wars in 1977 and E.T. in 1982.
Yes, it sold the vast majority of those tickets (around 73%, presuming an $845 million domestic finish) in the first ten days. That was almost preordained by the whole “no spoilers for the first ten days” thing which then saw a spoiler filled-Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer and a deluge of online gifs which spoiled every major plot beat of the movie.
You want to see (obviously, spoiler warning) Iron Man snap his fingers, you want to see Thanos turn to dust, you want to see the lady Avengers team up, you want to see “America’s ass?” Well, those beats were all available online sans any need to go to a theater or even use pirating services to download the film.
In an era where there is so much competition for theatrical dollars when everything is pitted against the theatrical industry for non-event movies and against repeat viewership for event movies, this is still a hell of a thing. Avengers: Endgame is going to sell around 93.7 million domestic tickets despite all the distractions, despite the front-loaded nature of modern movie-going, despite intense competition from Detective Pikachu, John Wick 3 and Aladdin in that first month. Despite everything that’s changed in the last thirty years, Avengers: Endgame played as if theatrical movie-going was the only game in town.
It won’t top Avatar, either in adjusted grosses ($877 million), overseas grosses ($2.029 billion) or global cumes ($2.788 billion), and it certainly won’t get anywhere near Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ $937 million domestic total. But Avengers: Endgame is still essentially the biggest summer movie in 37 years. When you remove those pesky reissues, it is among the top 13 movies ever in terms of inflation.
Will Avengers: Endgame get reissued at some point in time? Maybe, but this isn’t 2011 or 2013 where a significant reissue of The Lion King could snag $94 million, or Jurassic Park could add an additional $45 million. Even Avatar only added $11 million to its $749 million cume in August of 2010, although I imagine it’ll return to theaters in some capacity before the sequel. All that said, Avengers: Endgame has been doing the impossible (as long as the “impossible” doesn’t involve James Cameron) for the majority of its run.