I was expecting it to beat Avatar because I am still surprised Avatar did that well. Yeah, I know it was pretty revolutionary in terms of effects, but it did not have a memorable story. It was basically just dances with wolves with an extremely well done generic paradise. I literally never hear people talk about the movie...ever. There have been few instances I've heard it discussed in media and it was precisely due to its budget or sales. End game I see everywhere. I expected it to win just because of how much it is part of pop culture and social media.
The 3D raked in the money for Avatar, however 10 years ago 3D prices were probably the same prices as a regular movie ticket (here anyway), so I doubt ticket prices alone had a sole impact of making it no 1. I think the 3D made people go back a few times.
End Game = 58 million
Avatar = 105 million
End Game = 614 million
Avatar = 200 million
I also bet, at the time Chinese probably were not going to cinemas as much due to most people being poor or ticket prices were significantly cheaper or communism prevented easy access to western movies (who knows).
The top 3 movies of all time, China's revenue
Titanic 1996 = 40 million
Avatar 2009 = 200 million
End Game 2019 = 600 million