‘Avengers’ to pass `Avatar’ as top-grossing film

The ‘Avengers: End Game’ all-star cast at the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles on Apr 22, 2019. (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: “Avengers: Endgame,” the concluding chapter in a Marvel superhero saga from Walt Disney Co, is set to topple James Cameron’s “Avatar” on Sunday to become the highest-grossing film of all time.

Disney re-released the film with new footage in late June for a final push as “Endgame” closed in on the record.

It has now taken in US$2.79 billion in theatres worldwide as of Friday, the company said Saturday, just US$500,000 short of “Avatar.”

“Endgame will close this gap by tomorrow,” Disney said in a statement.

Grabbing the no. 1 spot caps an extraordinary run for Marvel and “Avengers” in particular.

The four pictures in the superhero mash-up averaged US$652.5 million in domestic ticket sales, and the 23 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dating back to “Iron Man” in 2008, rank as the top-grossing movie franchise.

The Marvel characters have continued their run of successes this summer with Sony Corp.’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” dominating theatres now.

As of July 14, the film had taken in US$847 million in worldwide ticket sales.

Disney punched up the re-release of “Endgame” with a tribute to the late Marvel pioneer Stan Lee, an unfinished scene and a sneak peek at a scene in “Far From Home.” Fans also got an exclusive poster.

Disney has had a run of box-office successes built around Marvel, “Star Wars” and Pixar movies that have made it the industry leader.

With its acquisition of 21st Century Fox properties for US$71 billion earlier this year, Disney will also be home to “Avatar” sequels that Cameron plans to begin rolling out in 2021.

In inflation-adjusted terms, “Endgame” ranks no. 16 on the all-time list, according to Box Office Mojo. “Gone With the Wind,” first released in 1939, tops the list on that basis.