Weekend Box Office (April 26 - 28, 2019)
THIS WEEKEND Exactly one year after the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, Earth's mightiest heroes return to multiplexes across the globe seeking vengeance with what will soon be a record-breaking launch for Avengers: Endgame. Disney has already booked the mega-event movie into 4,662 domestic theaters, a new industry high.
Fan interest is at deafening levels due to the brand being red hot, plus intense eagerness to see how the story concludes for this two-part Avengers saga, as well as what it means to the overall 11-year, 22-film Marvel Cinematic Universe which soon will start to look a lot different as it evolves into its next phase. The franchise collectively is about to cross $19 billion in global box office in the coming days, and will likely speed past $20 billion by the end of next week. This is the world's biggest movie series today.
Infinity War opened this same weekend to a record $257.7M and a 15% boost in audience this time would result in a $296M opening weekend. Add in some modest ticket price increases plus the fact that the jump in turnout may be more than 15% and it is easy to see that we could be on the verge of the first $300M+ opening weekend ever seen. Gargantuan upfront demand will lead to record-breaking Thursday pre-shows and opening day Friday numbers. Despite the three-hour running time, fan love for the overall franchise could lead to repeat business in the days and weeks ahead.
At the very least, Endgame has a shot at reaching the number two spot on the all-time domestic blockbusters list challenging Avatar's $760.5M from nearly a decade ago. After the second weekend we will know if the new Avengers can topple Star Wars: The Force Awakens which did $936.7M in 2015-2016. Nothing can be ruled out at this early stage.
Oddly enough, we have been here before. The first Avengers broke the all-time opening weekend record in 2012 and its sequel Age of Ultron was widely expected to break that record when it debuted on the same exact weekend three years later. It didn't do it, opening 8% below. So expectations will not always be met. But Endgame does indeed look like a muscular titan that can soar to new heights. Reviews are fantastic and millions of fans have been consuming past MCU films in recent weeks building up to the arrival of this hit. Plus thousands of shows have sold out in advance leading to packed auditoriums.
Avengers: Endgame has already broken records in China opening early on Wednesday with a colossal $107.5M including midnight shows to kick off an extended five-day start. The full international gross on day one was $169M from 25 markets shattering records along the way and opening bigger than Infinity War in all territories which debuted on the same day.
The global opening weekend launch from Wednesday-to-Sunday will easily break $900M and may very well crack the $1 billion mark too. For North America, the opening weekend might deliver around $298M by Sunday night.
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Watch the trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX.
LAST YEAR Records came tumbling down as Avengers: Infinity War dominated the marketplace with a new all-time best opening weekend of $257.7M for Marvel and Disney. The super hero juggernaut with its cliffhanger ending went on to finish with jaw-dropping results at $678.8M domestic and $2.05 billion worldwide - #4 all-time on both lists. Holdovers picked up the scraps with A Quiet Place at $11M, I Feel Pretty at $8.2M, Rampage doing $7.2M, and Black Panther still in the Top 5 in its eleventh weekend at $4.7M.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: April 25, 2019 at 4:20PM ET
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