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Avatar beats Endgame as the highest-grossing movie but Zoe Saldana is the real winner

Image of Zoe Saldana's characters in Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Zoe Saldana plays Neytiri in Avatar and Gamora in Avengers: Endgame. Pic credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

The long-winded saga continues! For years, James Cameron’s Avatar held the slot for the highest-grossing movie worldwide. As confirmed by Deadline, the science-fiction drama Avatar first took the crown in 2010 after it surpassed Cameron’s 1997 movie Titanic. 

However, in 2019, after the high-anticipated culmination of Marvel’s Phase 3 with Avengers: Endgame, directors Joe and Anthony Russo nabbed the title after re-releasing their movie with extra footage. 

What happened?

The plot has thickened. In order to boost movie theater sales, China re-released Avatar in theaters. This new premiere boosted Avatar’s grossing numbers to an estimated $2.802 billion, compared to Endgame’s $2.797 billion (numbers taken from aforementioned Deadline article). 

With that being the case, many people have their fingers crossed for an Endgame re-release, although no major ones have been announced. It is possible once COVID-19 cases go down in more countries and more theaters reopen, there will be an influx of re-releasing Marvel movies in order to get people back to the movie theaters — as Marvel has an enormous fanbase. 

Although, as of now, there are still movie theater closures and limitations across the United States and the United Kingdom, two countries that have major movie hubs. 

The Russo Brothers have responded to their title being stripped. They tweeted, “Passing the gauntlet back to you,” tagging James Cameron in their post. 

Marvel Studios has also recognized Cameron’s achievement and they tweeted, “We love you 3000” to Avatar’s movie creators and fanbase.

What does Zoe Saldana have to do with this? 

Funny enough, actor Zoe Saldana stars in both movies! She plays the selfless assassin Gamora in Endgame and the Na’vi princess Neytiri in Avatar. Therefore, Twitter has decided that Zoe Saldana is the real winner throughout this friendly back-and-forth competition. 

Pop culture writer Ashley K. tweeted, “Congrats to Zoe Saldana for being in the highest-grossing film of all time regardless.”

And Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn recognized the silly coincidence. He said, “Well it was fun while it lasted, but I am no longer an Executive Producer of the biggest grossing film of all time.” 

To his tweet, he added, “Congrats to James Cameron & the #Avatar team! (And of course @ZoeSaldana, who is in kind of a no lose situation here).”

Image of James Gunn's tweet.
Image of James Gunn’s tweet. Pic credit: @JamesGunn/Twitter

Many Marvel fans have also been chiming into the conversation, so much to the point where “Zoe Saldana” is a top trend on Twitter. One fan wrote, “Just acknowledge that no matter who wins between Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, the real winner is Zoe Saldana.”

Giving props to Saldana seems like a fair way to hedge this competition as Avatar might find itself in trouble if theaters decide to rerelease Endgame. 

Avatar and Endgame are both streaming on Disney Plus.

Raven Brunner


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