What baffles me about the current film climate is how fans have started to look at the box office like it’s a bloodsport. Instead of arguing quality, a lot of fans use box office receipts to try and make their point, instead. At least two different people came up to me and said, “Your Alita: Battle Angel review sucks! The movie was a success at the box office!” as if there’s a direct correlation between a film’s artistic merit and how much money it makes. There’s also the group who carry proverbial banners and yell into the ether: “Let’s go Avengers: Endgame! Destroy Avatar at the box office!”
As of a few months ago, Endgame (US$ 2.796 billion) successfully inched past Avatar‘s $US 2.789 billion to become the highest-grossing film of all time, worldwide. Funnily enough, James Cameron, the director of Avatar is actually happy that Endgame broke his film’s decade long record at the global box office. In an interview with Deadline, Cameron said:
“It gives me a lot of hope. Avengers: Endgame is demonstrable proof that people will still go to movie theaters. The thing that scared me most about making Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 was that the market might have shifted so much that it simply was no longer possible to get people that excited about going and sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers to watch something.”
Later, Cameron was asked if he thinks his upcoming Avatar sequels could go on to dethrone Avengers: Endgame at the box office. The highly talented director once again responded with class:
“Will Avatar 2 and 3 be able to create that kind of success in the zeitgeist? Who knows. We’re trying. Maybe we do, maybe we don’t, but the point is, it’s still possible. I’m happy to see it, as opposed to an alternate scenario where, with the rapid availability, a custom-designed experience that everybody can create for themselves with streaming services and all the different platforms, that [theatrical potential] might not have existed anymore.”
James Cameron makes a great point. The film landscape has changed big time since Avatar hit the big screens in 2009. With the introduction of streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as fantastic home theatre systems at affordable prices, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to convince people to leave their houses to catch a movie. But what Avengers: Endgame‘s box office shows us is that people will still flock to the cinemas for pop-culturally relevant event films and that is only a good thing.