Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently celebrated the first anniversary of the release of Avengers: Endgame, which brought the decade-long Infinity Saga to a suitably epic and fitting conclusion, and also ended up becoming the highest-grossing movie in history in the process. Unless James Cameron decides to re-release Avatar out of spite in an effort to make up the $8 million required to reclaim the top spot for the Na’vi, the long-lasting implications of the Coronavirus pandemic could see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes hold the record for some time.
Theaters around the world are still in a state of lockdown, and it looks to remain that way for a while yet as Hollywood virtually abandons any plans to release movies during the summer months, which is usually the most lucrative time of year. Chains are already filing for bankruptcy, and the effects on smaller cinemas or independent theaters could be catastrophic.
Social distancing measures are expected to remain in place for a long time, which means that even when cinemas re-open, it’ll never be to a full house, which creates another knock-on effect to both their earning potential and that of the movies they’re playing. Studios have also started making some of their high-profile projects available for digital download in a matter of weeks, while others like Disney’s Artemis Fowl and animated prequel Scoob! are bypassing theaters entirely and heading straight into people’s homes, which could be the catalyst for a seismic change in the industry’s business model.
Furthermore, fewer big budget movies than ever will be likely to get the greenlight once the pandemic is over given the countless billions in revenue that are already being missed out on, so it seems like it could be many, many years before another movie comes along that even has the faintest chance of coming anywhere close to matching Avengers: Endgame‘s $2.78 billion haul at the box office.