The lastest expression of China's economic might came Saturday, when the rereleased Avatar sold enough tickets there to again make it the highest-grossing film of all time. As box office sales topped $2.8 billion, Avatar displaced Avengers: Endgame, CNBC reports. The Avengers installment, which took the title in 2019, is at $2.79 billion in ticket sales. "These two titans of cinema have been dueling on box-office Mt. Olympus for years," an analyst said. Carrying on a Hollywood tradition, Endgame's directors congratulated their rivals. "Passing the gauntlet back to you," they posted. The practice began in 1977 when Steven Spielberg congratulated George Lucas as Star Wars passed Jaws, per Deadline.
China's movie theaters have been open and shut during the pandemic, and James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi film drew large crowds this weekend, per Film: The A.V Club. Theaters in China sold more than $12 million in tickets on Friday and Saturday, eliminating the $7.8 million difference between the two films. "We want to thank our Chinese fans for their support," said Avatar producer Jon Landau. “We are hard at work on the next Avatar film." It's due out in December 2022. Disney plans for more over the next decade; principle filming has been finished for two of them. (Read more box office stories.)