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Movies That Could Break Avengers: Endgame's Worldwide Box Office Record

Thanos may have snapped half of all life out of existence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe during Avengers: Infinity War, but here in the real world, the population keeps growing — and pretty much everyone went to see the Infinity War sequel, Avengers: Endgame, the highest-grossing film ever. Endgame opened with a once-unfathomable $1.2 billion global take, $350 million from North America alone. This opening weekend record is unlikely to be beaten anytime soon — and for that matter, the films' record-setting total worldwide take seems secure as well. 

That said, nothing lasts forever, and records are made to be broken. It took 11 years for Avengers: Endgame to dethrone James Cameron's Avatar as the worldwide box office champ. Before that, it took 12 years for Cameron to make the movie that toppled his own Titanic from the top of the worldwide box office charts. Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park held the title for four years before it was sunk by Titanic. And before that, 11 years passed before Jurassic Park made E.T. The Extra Terrestrial's all-time record go extinct

All of which is to say that in Hollywood, it can take a while for a new record-breaker to emerge — if only due to inflation — but it can be done. So which upcoming movies have the best shot at snapping Avengers: Endgame's all-time reign, and how likely are their chances? Only time will tell — but in the meantime, here's a look at some movies that seem better poised than most to potentially break Avengers: Endgame's worldwide box office record.

Will Skywalker Rise to the top spot?

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019. While Star Wars is one of the highest-grossing franchises in North America ever (with a higher per-film average than the Marvel Cinematic Universe), only Star Wars (a.k.a. Episode IV – A New Hope) was the highest grossing ever worldwide. A lot has happened since 1977, with international grosses playing a much bigger role in a film's performance. While Star Wars is as ubiquitous as ever, the two most recent films in the series have underwhelmed at both the domestic and international box office. The spinoff Solo: A Star Wars Story was widely derided as a bomb, while 2017's The Last Jedi made "only" $620 million domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide  — impressive, but a lot less than The Force Awakens, and especially Avengers: Endgame

Throughout the nine-film, three-trilogy Skywalker Saga, the second film in each trilogy has dipped domestically (Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones) before the final one (Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith) dominates. However, to top the worldwide box office, you need strong international numbers, and Star Wars' foreign totals historically just aren't as great as the MCU's. For example, while The Force Awakens is the highest-grossing domestic release ever, it's only fourth worldwide. So while The Rise of Skywalker may very well top Avengers: Endgame at the domestic box office, it looks like a long shot to set the worldwide record.

Will Jurassic World III stomp Avengers into extinction?

The Jurassic Park franchise is rock solid at the box office, so what are Jurassic World 3's chances of topping Avengers: Endgame when it opens in June 2021? Let's look at the franchise's (pre)history. 

Jurassic Park was the highest-grossing film ever worldwide until Titanic took the top spot. The Lost World: Jurassic Park had a huge opening weekend, but made about $500 million less than its predecessor worldwide. Jurassic Park III did well, but continued the downward trend. Despite some truly terrible sequel ideas, the franchise hibernated until 2015, when Jurassic World set the opening weekend record. Its final gross, a spectacular $652 million domestic and $1,671 billion worldwide, still landed third behind Avatar and Titanic (and now sits in sixth) on the all-time global charts. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is even farther down the list at 14th worldwide. Universal isn't crying about its $1.3 billion global take, but we doubt they're betting on Jurassic World III topping Avengers: Endgame. The Jurassic Park franchise seems to be following its familiar pattern. Audiences flock to the first one (or first in a long time, in the case of Jurassic World), but once the novelty has worn off, the grosses get smaller. Don't expect to see the Jurassic series go extinct anytime soon (Jurassic Planet? Jurassic Land? Jurassic Playground?), but don't expect it stomp Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Will Avengers 5 spell Avengers 4's Endgame?

Avengers 5 doesn't have a title, a storyline, or even a release date. It's not even part of Marvel's Phase 4. And yet it's one of the most anticipated movies in the near future, if for no other reason than it follows the record-smashing Avengers: Endgame. What will the story be? Who will be the big bad? Galactus? Doctor Doom? Or will it be something completely different, like Avengers vs. X-Men? The possibilities are limitless — almost. 

Whoever Avengers 5 features, we know a few of the people who won't be included: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Chris Evans as Captain America. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. Heck, we'll even throw in Josh Brolin as Thanos, as he was really popular too. Yes, this is a superhero movie and Marvel has introduced the multiverse, so anything can happen. But the likelihood all of them will return in those same roles is about as slim as the Avenger's 15 million-to-one shot of stopping Thanos. So it can happen, but it's not likely. Will Avengers 5 have the same draw without these cornerstone characters? Maybe. Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man have each made bank at the box office, and you know the studio will pull no punches in making Avengers 5 the biggest thing ever. But it remains to be seen if that's enough to top Avengers: Endgame.

Can Black Panther II claw its way to the top?

Maybe it won't take every Avenger to top Endgame's gross. Maybe we only need one — Black Panther II. Thanks to its insane $700 million domestic gross, Black Panther is the highest-grossing solo superhero movie, with $1.3 billion worldwide. Bigger than Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, and Captain America. So clearly Black Panther scratched an itch. What does that mean for a sequel? 

With the notable exceptions of Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, just about every MCU sequel has made more than the previous film, both domestically and worldwide. The sky seems to be the limit for the King of Wakanda's future adventures, but the question is, just how high can he go? Can Black Panther's historic gross be bettered with its sequel? Or was the record-breaking gross of Black Panther the consequence of a perfect storm of culture and cross-promotion colliding? Time will tell. 

Much like Avengers 5, the title, storyline and complete cast for this sequel are still unknown; at this point, all anyone knows is that it's due for release on May 6, 2022. But what we do know is that, while Black Panther's domestic take was historic, its overseas grosses, while strong, were lower than other Marvel movies, and are currently only 46th on the all-time international charts.. To have a shot at the top spot, your international take must be exceptional as well.

Will Furious 9 be too Fast for Avengers?

The Fast and Furious franchise is one of the most reliable in movies, with a combined total gross of $1.582 billion in North America alone. Overseas is where the franchise really shines, with two films in the top 10 all-time internationally. The franchise also has incredible gas mileage. The Fast and The Furious came out in 2001; roughly two decades later, the series shows no signs of slowing down. For comparison, Fox's X-Men franchise also started in the early 2000s and died a painful death with X-Men 3: The Last Stand before being revived with a rebooted series that itself flamed out with 2019's Dark Phoenix. Meanwhile, the Fast and Furious spinoff Hobbs and Shaw is poised to be one of the biggest non-Disney hits of 2019. 

So does Fast and Furious 9, scheduled for a May 20, 2020 release, have a chance at global glory? Furious 7, the franchise's biggest hit, made an impressive $353 million stateside, and $1.516 billion worldwide. Its insane $1.163 billion overseas gross is the greatest international take for any film not named Avengers or from James Cameron. However, The Fate of the Furious, the most recent film in the franchise, made $1.236 billion worldwide, nearly $300 million less. The franchise won't run out of gas anytime soon, but it may have slowed down. Given Fast and Furious 9 won't feature series standouts Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, expect the drop to continue. That said, this franchise has surprised us many times — it might still have a few more death-defying, turbo-charges left in the tank.

Can Frozen II wield box office magic?

Since Frozen melted hearts in 2013, a generation of children have been born and raised on "Let It Go." Taking this long between sequels is often a risky proposition (look no further than the summer of 2019's under-performers), Frozen II is unlikely to suffer the same fate. But how high will Elsa fly? Frozen is only eighth on the domestic charts for the highest-grossing animated films, but it's the highest-grossing animated non-sequel. Most significantly, it's made more internationally than any other animated film, with $857.5 million overseas. By comparison, Incredibles 2, the highest-grossing animated film ever worldwide, only made $634.2 million of its $1.2 billion global take from overseas grosses. 

If you take inflation into account, Frozen's gross is that much more impressive. Is it enough for the much-anticipated Frozen II to top Avengers: Endgame? If we're just looking at the numbers, not really — but nobody expected Frozen to take off the way it did in 2013. If you assume that many of the filmgoers who saw the original will see the new one, then add in all the kids born after 2013 who've grown up with Frozen, you've got a mighty hefty take. Becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time is certainly well within reach. Frozen II may not have the broad appeal of Avengers: Endgame to become the highest-grossing of all time, period, but who knows? Maybe Elsa has some more magic up her sleeves.

Tell me, Avengers... do you bleed? - The Batman

If a single superhero can take down Earth's Mightiest Heroes, it's Batman. Arguably the most popular costumed vigilante on the big screen, Batman's combined domestic gross is $2.4 billion. If we adjust that for inflation, given most Batman movies came out more than 10 years ago, it's $3.5 billion. This is also the only franchise to break the opening weekend record four times, although no Batman movie has been the highest-grossing film ever, domestically or worldwide. 

The biggest hit in the franchise, The Dark Knight, made $533 million domestically, placing it second behind Titanic in North America in 2008 (its rank has since fallen out of the top ten). Dark Knight's worldwide take, however, barely makes the top 50 at just over $1 billion. After The Dark Knight Rises, Batman has been in a dry spell, but The Batman hopes to change that when it opens on June 25, 2021. Its connection to the DCEU is unclear, but it promises to be a complete reboot — and the last reboot in the series, Batman Begins, performed well, setting the stage for the record-breaking Dark Knight. There's been fan backlash against Robert Pattinson's casting in the title role, but fans protested Michael Keaton's casting too.

Will Harrison Ford's last crusade topple Earth's Mightiest Heroes?

Indiana Jones 5, scheduled for a July 9, 2021 release, is shrouded in more secrecy than the Ark of the Covenant. What can we expect from its box office performance? Indiana Jones' total domestic gross is just over $906 million. Unimpressed? Well, adjusted for inflation, Indy has made $2.1 billion domestically across just four films — that's pretty incredible. Still, it's hard to gauge how Indy will do in a new environment driven by international grosses. Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made $317 million stateside and $786 million worldwide in 2008. Not great, but not bad, although as we saw with Star Wars: The Force Awaken's historic run, fans really, really like seeing Harrison Ford playing his most famous characters. While Indy has never been quite at the level of Lucasfilm's golden goose from the galaxy far, far away, it's still a franchise with a permanent place in pop culture. Indy 5 is unlikely to become the highest-grossing movie of all time, though it hopefully will give Harrison Ford's Indy a proper ride off into the sunset (...again). Expect this movie to become the highest-grossing Indy film worldwide, unadjusted for inflation, making more than enough money for Disney to fill a Temple of Doom.

Disney doubles down on Star Wars stories

The Skywalker Saga isn't the only Star Wars-related media Disney is churning out. Far from it. Currently, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are working on a Star Wars trilogy, while The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is working on his own. End result? The studio has Star Wars films booked through the next decade, trading holiday release dates with Avatar sequels in a bid to dominate the universe, one December at a time. It's doubtful that Disney needs or even cares if any of these films breaks away to become the biggest of all time. Sure, they wouldn't complain if any of them did, but that's not the goal. The goal is to replicate the MCU's multi-franchise formula with the highly popular Star Wars series. Sounds good in theory, but as Solo: A Star Wars Story proved, Star Wars movies don't necessarily work like that. Star Wars has long been a franchise that thrives on buildup and anticipation. One new film every other year (plus The Mandolorian and other potential TV tie-ins on Disney+) could send demand for the franchise tumbling into a Sarlacc pit of despair.

How much green can the blue aliens make?

James Cameron has been teasing the expansion of his Avatar franchise for so long that we've gone Na'vi blue in the face. Cameras have finally started rolling on four Avatar sequels, at a cost of $1 billion. That may seem like an insane investment on a film, that'll be 12 years old by the time the next one arrives on December 17, 2021, but this is Avatar we're talking about: until July 2019, it was the highest-grossing film ever worldwide, and it remains the highest-grossing overseas. Heck, the first Avatar sequel could bomb and this franchise would still be one of the biggest ever based on the first film's performance alone. 

We doubt that will happen, however. The past decade has seen many pundits predicting Cameron's Avatar sequels will fail, mostly stemming from the fact that Avatar doesn't have the same hold on pop culture as say, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. That may be so, but once that first trailer hits, with whatever insane CG-induced fever dream Cameron has cooked up, we'll be pre-ordering our tickets. That being said, will any of these sequels top the original, or even Avengers: Endgame? Or is the all-time record unobtanium — er, unobtainable?

Can Avatar take back its title?

Why start from scratch? Who says an Avatar sequel (or any sequel) has to top Avengers: Endgame when Avatar already has a head start? Less than $10 million separates Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, so if Avatar were to be re-released to build anticipation for its sequels, there's a solid chance it'll take its record back. Rereleasing films is nothing new, though it hasn't been as common following the arrival of home entertainment and on-demand streaming services. But what's a little friendly competition when the world record is at stake? 

The only problem is, since Disney purchased Fox, Disney would be responsible for the reissue — and they'd be competing with themselves. Disney obviously wanted Avengers: Endgame to take the record, hence the decision to re-release the movie with a few minutes of extra footage. Now that they've done it, why would they turn around and have Avatar usurp it? Money matters, but pride counts too. Then again, maybe Disney just wants to re-release both films back and forth for years to come, having each top the others' record until a new No. 1 film comes along, or we the audience quit falling for it. That seems unlikely, however. Yes, Avatar would almost 100% take its top spot back... if Fox still owned it outright. Now that Disney owns Fox, expect Avatar to stay right where it is, behind Avengers: Endgame.

What if it's a movie nobody would have predicted?

Nobody would have predicted James Cameron's movie about the sinking of a ship starring two up-and-comers would become the highest-grossing movie ever. Even fewer predicted that Cameron would top his own record with an original sci-fi film about space marines fighting 12-foot blue aliens. Yes, everybody knew Avengers: Endgame was going to own the box office, but nobody predicted that C-List superhero Iron Man would spawn the most successful franchise ever. 

So yeah, predicting things can be a guessing game. Despite the data and analytics that go into every Hollywood movie, which movies hit big and which films flop hard is anyone's guess. Hollywood is knee-deep in the IP era, but as summer 2019 has proven, lots of moviegoers are suffering from sequelitis. Maybe the future highest-grossing film won't be a franchise entry at all, but an original work? Or maybe it'll be based on a popular book — or maybe like Titanic, Gone with the Wind, and so many huge hits before, it'll be an epic historical romance. 

Maybe the biggest hit won't even come from America. With a gross of over $700 million, the seventh highest-grossing movie worldwide is the Chinese film The Wandering Earth. Could a foreign film become a breakout hit it in the U.S.? Would it even need to? Whatever that future record-breaker is, we can't wait to see it.