Two days after my latest box office column, which claimed defeat for Avengers: Endgame in the pursuit of the all-time worldwide box office record, comes word that it’s not over until the fat Asgardian sings. According to what was initially an exclusive report by ComicBook.com, Disney is “re-releasing” Endgame next weekend with extra footage. Whether that footage indeed appropriately features Thor crooning, though, is unknown.
Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige let the news out of the bag. “We are doing that,” he told the website during the London press junket for the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home. “I don’t know if it’s been announced. And I don’t know how much… Yeah, we’re doing it next weekend.”
Despite my argument for it being in Disney’s better interest to keep Avatar (which they now own) on the box office throne, this does seem like an easy and obvious way for the company to get the already giant-size blockbuster hit to go the distance and supplant James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic. Otherwise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe “finale” has been petering out attendance-wise around the world, with Endgame nearly dropping out of the domestic top 10 this past weekend.
At the moment, the Avengers sequel (with a global gross of $2,743,413,993) is just $45 million away from dethroning Avatar ($2,787,965,087), and that difference can be made up with the promise of more footage added to the three-hour superhero movie. If it’s just random deleted scenes we’ve already heard about, that might still be enough, but preferably the addition would offer some greater setup to Far From Home, hinting that you’d have to see Endgame again to properly appreciate the Spidey sequel.
Rather than giving us expository context for the questions asked by fans of Endgame and Far From Home regarding the ages of the characters and timeline of the Spider-Man: Homecoming follow-up, Feige further revealed to ScreenRant that the bonus material comes after the credits and includes “a deleted scene, a little tribute, and a few surprises.” That does sound like supplementary and not necessary content. But it should be enough for fans.
Disney does like the optics of numbers and records when it comes to box office grosses. Last year, the studio did everything it could to push A Wrinkle in Time over the $100 million mark at the end of its theatrical run. Recently, they somehow (and I never got an answer from anyone or anywhere on what they did exactly) got the underperforming live-action Dumbo remake a bit of a boost, as well, once their live-action Aladdin hit theaters.
They seem to be good at stringing franchise and branded installments close enough to have them benefitted on both ends. Captain Marvel got an extra push and subsequent surge when Endgame opened. Endgame would naturally get its own with the release of Far From Home in a couple of weeks. And this gimmicky stunt happening a few days before that movie’s debut is intentionally timed.
It helps that Disney’s latest Pixar animated feature, Toy Story 4, will have made the bulk of its money this weekend, and then next weekend there’s not much else coming out for the Disney or superhero crowd the week before Far From Home.
For Avatar diehards who’ve been glad that Endgame wouldn’t likely top its record, we can always maintain that the former’s inflated domestic gross will keep it at number one. While $45 million is the amount needed for the official record and we can’t do anything about foreign market numbers, technically Avatar‘s lifetime worldwide gross is still more equivalent to $2,904,216,762, which means Endgame actually needs another $162 million for the win. That extra footage will have to be pretty darn spectacular for that to happen.