Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Marvel to re-release 'Avengers: Endgame' in bid to break 'Avatar' record

Marvel flagpole still trails 'Avatar' in box office gross charts

'Avengers: Endgame' is the poster child for the three-hour movie. Disney / Marvel Studios via AP
'Avengers: Endgame' is the poster child for the three-hour movie. Disney / Marvel Studios via AP

Avengers: Endgame has amassed a massive $2.743 billion (Dh10bn) at the global box office to date, but that’s still not quite enough to take the title of highest grossing movie ever from James Cameron’s Avatar, which still holds the title with its $2.788bn haul. Endgame sits second, still some $45m behind Avatar.

With this in mind, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige took to the floor of the Spiderman: Far from Home press junket in London yesterday to confirm that the film would be getting a re-release, along with the ubiquitous “new footage” on June 28.

If this sounds cynical, hold on – you haven’t heard it all yet. The new version won’t be a “Director’s Cut” or feature any additional scenes, at least not in the movie itself.

Post-credit scenes

Instead Feige has promised that fans who sit through the three-hour-plus marathon again will be treated to a deleted scene, a “tribute” – we’re sticking our necks out and saying to Marvel legend Stan Lee, who passed away late last year – and “a few surprises.”

That will doubtless come as great news to the many audience members who already extended their marathon in the expectation of Marvel’s traditional post-credits scenes last time around, only to realise they’d just spent an extra ten minutes sitting in the theatre for nothing because there wasn't one.

Personally, I’ll be waiting for the home release to give Endgame another watch, but Marvel badly wants that record, and it clearly thinks enough dedicated fans will be tempted back to take it. He may be right.

Endgame is still earning

Endgame is still in theatres as we speak, but with the summer blockbuster season now upon us, it’s losing screens to the newer movies. Films like Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Men in Black: International and X-Men: Dark Phoenix may have bombed, but they’ve still taken precious screen slots away from the ageing Endgame.

The film took $3.51m globally last week, and with that figure likely to continue decreasing as the likes of Toy Story 4 and Spiderman: Far from Home take up more screen space, Endgame looks unlikely to surpass Avatar without an extra push.

Plus, in a move which Marvel’s marketing department are probably still patting their own backs about, with Spiderman: Far From Home set to release over the July 4 weekend, and the trailers for that film having already made clear that we’ll find a forlorn Peter Parker mourning the (spoiler alert) death of his mentor, Tony Stark, the re-release can be pushed as an ideal part of a package to prepare for that film, which will begin to move us into the next phase of the MCU.

Whether Marvel’s move will work remains to be seen. It’s worth noting that when Avatar was busy smashing box office records back in 2009, Fox pulled a similar trick with a re-release to bump up the figures. It took $10m, which nobody complained about, but a similar result for Endgame still wouldn’t push it into the coveted top spot.

What about inflation?

It’s also worth noting that Avatar is 10 years old, so the title of “highest grossing film ever” is somewhat moot without adjusting for inflation. In order to catch Avatar by that, more realistic, measurement, Endgame would need to clear $3.273Bn, and it still wouldn’t be top. It would need to pull in a further $505m on top of that to overhaul Gone with the Wind’s chart-topping, adjusted $3.728bn.

In fact, Endgame sits just fifth in the adjusted table, and it would need to clear $3.06Bn in today’s money just to catch 1977’s Star Wars in fourth. In that sense, while totally understandable on a commercial level, Marvel’s latest plans have managed to marry extreme cynicism and extreme meaninglessness in one smooth move.

Updated: June 20, 2019 02:04 PM

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