We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but Avengers: Endgame has been grossing a lot of money. On Wednesday, after less than a week in release, the latest MCU epic — which, let’s not forget, runs over a half hour longer than the quite long Goodfellas — became the top grossing film of 2019, usurping the spot held by previous record holder, Captain Marvel. Now, after just a week in theaters, it’s beat the number two all-time grosser, James Cameron’s Titanic.
EW noted the occasion, with Endgame grazing Titanic like, well, like a giant cruise ship grazing a gigantic iceberg. The former has now grossed $2.189 billion globally — a hair over Titanic’s $2.187 billion. And again, it’s only been in theaters for two weekends, and is extremely well-liked on top of that. Its next target? Another James Cameron picture, Avatar, which holds the top ever spot with $2.787 billion.
Endgame will easily (and probably quickly) get to that spot, but one thing to consider: These old box office numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation. In 2019 dollars, Titanic’s puny $2.187 billion haul is really about $3.078 billion. And Avatar? Over 10 years, its $2.787 billion has grown to about $3.251 billion.
Again, audiences (even critics!) really, really, really like Avengers: Endgame, so it will probably play in theaters forever, and it will probably sail past those adjusted-for-inflation tallies without much effort and in not much time.
Still, remember that, after an inflation rejiggering, the highest grossing film ever isn’t Avatar; it’s Gone with the Wind, which stands around $3.7 billion, and that’s only taking into consideration grosses we know about, from a period when numbers weren’t as obsessively reported as they are today. Can Iron Man really defeat Rhett Butler? Frankly, we probably give too much of a damn.