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

To accommodate demand, the Walt Disney Co. released ‘Endgame’ in more theatres than any opening before

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

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 theatres, 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.)

READ MORE: B.C. to fight ticket scalpers with new regulations and no more bots

“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 theatre.”

“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 theatres — 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 theatres 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 favour was its lengthy running time: 161 minutes. But theatres 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 theatre’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 theatres 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 2,” ”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.

But theatre 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).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. “Avengers: Endgame,” $350 million ($859 million international).

2. “Captain Marvel,” $8.1 million.

3. “The Curse of La Llorona,” $7.5 million.

4. “Breakthrough,” $6.3 million.

5. “Shazam!” $5.5 million.

6. “Little,” $3.4 million.

7. “Dumbo,” $3.2 million.

8. “Pet Sematary,” $1.3 million.

9. “Us,” $1.1 million.

10. “Penguins,” $1.1 million.

___

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Parents Robin Ringer and Wyatt Gilmore with the No. 1 baby of 2021 in the Cowichan Valley. They have yet to decide on a name for her. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus couple excited about having the New Year’s baby for the Cowichan Valley

Recent arrivals from Fort Nelson celebrate their girl coming into the world on Jan. 7

Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee is expected to vote on a recommendation that could see busing between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo staff recommending bus route to Cowichan Valley

More than 1,900 survey respondents expressed support for inter-regional transit, notes RDN report

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read