AP

‘Avengers: Endgame’ obliterates records with $1.2B opening

Apr 28, 2019, 5:59 PM
opening...
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, from left, poses with members of the cast of "Avengers: End Game," Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo at a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The universe belongs to Marvel. “Avengers: Endgame” shattered the record for biggest opening weekend with an estimated $350 million in ticket sales domestically and $1.2 billion globally, reaching a new pinnacle in the blockbuster era that the comic-book studio has come to dominate.

The “Avengers” finale far exceeded even its own gargantuan expectations, according to studio estimates Sunday. The movie had been forecast to open between $260 million and $300 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, but moviegoers turned out in such droves that “Endgame” blew past the previous record of $257.7 million, set last year by “Avengers: Infinity War” when it narrowly surpassed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($248 million or about $266 million in inflation adjusted dollars.)

“Endgame” was just as enormous overseas. Worldwide, it obliterated the previous record of $640.5 million, also set by “Infinity War.” (“Infinity War” didn’t open in China, the world’s second largest movie market, until two weeks after its debut.) “Endgame” set a new weekend record in China, too, where it made $330.5 million.

In one fell swoop, “Endgame” has already made more than movies like “Skyfall,” ″Aquaman” and “The Dark Knight Rises” grossed in their entire runs, not accounting for inflation.

Alan Horn, Disney chairman, credited Marvel Studios and its president, Kevin Feige, for challenging “notions of what is possible at the movie theater.”

“This weekend’s monumental success is a testament to the world they’ve envisioned, the talent involved, and their collective passion, matched by the irrepressible enthusiasm of fans around the world,” Horn said in a statement.

To accommodate demand, the Walt Disney Co. released “Endgame” in more theaters — 4,662 in the U.S. and Canada — than any opening before. Advance ticketing services set new records. Early ticket buyers crashed AMC’s website. And starting Thursday, some theaters even stayed open 72 hours straight.

“We’ve got some really tired staff,” said John Fithian, president and chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners. “I talked to an exhibitor in Kansas who said, ‘I’ve never sold out a 7 a.m. show on Saturday morning before,’ and they were doing it all across their circuit.”

Not working in the film’s favor was its lengthy running time: 181 minutes. But theaters kept added thousands of showings for “Endgame” to get it on more screens than any movie before to satiate the frenzy around “Endgame.” Joe and Anthony Russo’s film ties together the “Avengers” storyline as well as the previous 21 releases of the Marvel “cinematic universe,” begun with 2008′s “Iron Man.”

For an industry dogged by uncertainty over the growing role of streaming, the weekend was a mammoth display of the movie theater’s lucrative potency. Fithian called it possibly “the most significant moment in the modern history of the movie business.”

“We’re looking at more than 30 million American and more than 100 million global guests that experienced ‘Endgame’ on the big screen in one weekend,” Fithian said. “The numbers are just staggering.”

Further boosting the results for “Endgame” were good reviews; it currently ranks as 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, the best rating for any Marvel movie aside from “Black Panther.” Audiences gave the film an A-plus CinemaScore.

Single-handedly, “Endgame” led the overall weekend at the domestic box office to a record $400 million in ticket sales, according to Comscore. “Endgame” accounted for a staggering 88% of those tickets. The film’s grosses were aided by 3-D screenings (a record $540 million in global ticket sales) and IMAX screenings (a company record $91.5 million).

“Our partners in exhibition have done a great job with us on this film. As they saw the need, they opened up screens,” said Cathleen Taft, distribution chief for Disney. “While there may have been a concern — Is there going to be enough seats available? — I think that exhibition met that demand and rose to the occasion.”

But if there was any shadow to the weekend for the theatrical business, it was in just how reliant theaters have grown on one studio: Disney.

Disney now holds all but one of the top 12 box-office openings of all time. (Universal’s “Jurassic World” is the lone exception.) The studio is poised for a record-breaking year, with releases including “Aladdin,” ″Toy Story 4,” ″The Lion King,” ″Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Frozen 2” on the horizon.

Following its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney is expected to account for at least 40% of domestic box-office revenue in 2019, a new record of market share. The company’s “Captain Marvel” — positioned as a kind of Marvel lead-in to “Endgame” — also rose to No. 2 on the weekend, eight weeks after it opened. (The 22 films of Marvel’s “cinematic universe” have collectively earned $19.9 billion at the box office.)

Yet theater owners regularly speak of a “halo effect” around a movie like “Endgame.” Such sensations draw in new moviegoers and expose millions to a barrage of movie trailers.

“This has got to be the biggest weekend in popcorn history,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “Think of the gallons of soda and the hot dogs sold. This is going to continue all week and beyond. This is going to have long-term playability for sure.”

An enormous hit was much needed for a box office that, coming into the weekend, was lagging 16% of the pace of last year’s ticket sales, according to Comscore. “Endgame” moved the needle to negative 13.3% but the boost was less significant since “Infinity War” opened on the same weekend in 2018.

No other new wide release dared to open against “Endgame.” Warner Bros.′ “The Curse of La Llorona,” last week’s top movie, slid to third with $7.5 million.

The guessing game will now shift to just how much higher “Endgame” can go. Given its start, it’s likely to rival the top three worldwide grossers: “The Force Awakens” ($2.068 billion in 2015), “Titanic ($2.187 billion in 1997) and “Avatar” ($2.788 in 2009).

Today’s Top Stories

AP

A technician works on a component of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket ahead of the launch on the Mahia ...
NICK PERRY Associated Press

NASA hopes New Zealand launch will pave way for moon landing

The mission came together relatively quickly and cheaply for NASA, with the total mission cost put at $32.7 million.
12 hours ago
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., center, speaks as the House select committee investigating the J...
The Associated Press

Jan. 6 panel calls surprise hearing to present new evidence

A surprise hearing has been called by the House Jan. 6 panel to present new evidence.
2 days ago
Body bags lie at the scene where a tractor trailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday...
The Associated Press

AP sources: At least 40 people found dead in back of tractor trailer

In a presumed migrant smuggling attempt, a U.S. official says at least 40 people were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer on Monda in southern Texas.
2 days ago
An image taken from a video posted by  Robert Nightingale, who was a passenger aboard the Amtrak tr...
Amy Simonson, Steve Almasy, David Williams and Pete Muntean, CNN

3 killed and at least 50 injured when Amtrak train derails in Missouri after hitting dump truck

An Amtrak train derailment in Missouri Monday killed three people and injured at least 50 others.
2 days ago
praying football coach...
JESSICA GRESKO Associated Press

Supreme Court sides with coach who sought to pray after game

The court ruled 6-3 along ideological lines for the coach. The justices said the coach's prayer was protected by the First Amendment.
2 days ago
In this undated photo released by Toyota Motor Corp., its bZ4X vehicle is shown during an online pr...
YURI KAGEYAMA AP Business Writer

Toyota recalls electric car for faulty wheel that may detach

The "bz" in the recalled model's name, as well as others in the works, stands for a "beyond zero" series, including sport-utility vehicles of all sizes, pickup trucks and sportscars, according to Toyota.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ obliterates records with $1.2B opening