Endgame becomes the highest-grossing film of all time

The Marvel movie finally passes Avatar at the worldwide box-office, as James Cameron offers his congratulations

Avengers Endgame is now officially the highest-grossing film of all time, finally wrestling the worldwide box-office crown away from Avatar after its 10-year reign at the top. And, as is customary in these situations, the former and new champs have exchanged some illustrated messages of mutual respect online.

Marvel CEO Kevin Feige teased during the MCU panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con that Endgame was on course to overtake Cameron's 2009 blockbuster, thanking fans for turning out in their droves. But now the numbers are officially in, and it's been confirmed that Endgame has scraped ahead by the skin of its teeth. Its current tally stands at a whopping $2,790,591,417 – almost $1 million more than Avatar ($2,789,679,794).

Endgame was re-released on 28 June with an added deleted scene, a preview of Spider-Man: Far From Home and a tribute to Marvel legend Stan Lee. After initially breaking box-office records left, right and centre – becoming the fastest film ever to reach the $1 billion mark – Endgame's box-office earnings had been stagnating around $40 million short of Avatar, but the re-release finally saw it over the finish line. (Cameron's film, incidentally, had been bolstered by its own extended re-release in the summer of 2010 – which included nine minutes of cut footage and arrived in cinemas for one week only).

Cameron congratulated the folks at Marvel via Avatar's official Twitter account, passing the torch with a lovely illustration of Iron Man on Pandora and even dropping a bit of Na'vi into his message. "Oel ngati kameie, I see you Marvel," he wrote. "Congratulations on becoming the new box-office king."

Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of Endgame, quickly responded with a tweet of their own, featuring their silhouettes watching some of Cameron's biggest hits and thanking the Hollywood veteran for "inspiring" them. "You're a monumental reason why we fell in love with film in the first place," the Russos wrote. "We can’t wait to see where you take us next..."

With Cameron hard at work on his Avatar sequels in New Zealand, it seems the gauntlet has been laid down. Can the second film in the Pandora series – at one point rumoured to be titled Avatar: The Way of Water – go one better than Endgame? We'll have to wait until that film's release – on 17 December 2021 – to find out.