Can ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Become Biggest Box Office Hit of All Time?

Summer schedule makes it hard to rival 'Force Awakens' or 'Avatar' for $1B mark.

April 22, 2018 2:49 pm
Marvel Studios' "Avengers Infinity War" Photo: Chuck Zlotnick..©Marvel Studios 2018
Marvel Studios' "Avengers Infinity War" Photo: Chuck Zlotnick..©Marvel Studios 2018

There are just left before Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters and unleashes an invasion that lays all rivals to waste. Sure, that’s also the plot of the Marvel movie about an unstoppable intergalactic conqueror.

But in this case, that hyperbole concerns the box office prospects of the movie opening April 27.

The question is: Can this movie — which brings together the likes of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and just about every other superhero in that shared cinematic universe — break the $1 billion mark domestically?

Considering Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the North American record-holder at $936.7 million, could not manage the feat, it’s a barrier not even the Hulk can probably smash.

But just from the seismic social media frenzy building up to release and a friendly box office schedule for its first three weeks, ComScore senior box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian says the potential is there.

“The turbo-charging of the cast of Avengers: Infinity War is going to create a tremendous amount of box office horsepower and I would not underestimate that,” Dergarabedian told RealClearLife. “This could be a movie that obliterates all the records.”

Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Thanos (Josh Brolin)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

Part of the movie’s super strength, he added, is due to a boost that the movie gets from bringing the heroes of Black Panther back to the big screen so soon after that box office juggernaut stormed into third place all-time($681 million and counting) behind only The Force Awakens and Avatar ($760.5 million).

Another major benefit that the third Avengers installment will enjoy is a long stretch before a real challenger will have a chance to cut into its ticket sales. The next real threats are Deadpool 2 on May 18 or Solo: A Star Wars Story one week later.

“Four weeks is a luxurious time frame for this movie to have free reign until the next tentpole,” said Dergarabedian. “In this marketplace, four weeks is an eternity.”

This weekend, though, was relatively quiet at the box office — appropriately belonging to A Quiet Place. Writer/director/star John Krasinksi’s horror sci-fi took back the top spot in its third weekend, earning $22 million to bring its North American total to $132.4 million — an enormous success for a movie that cost just a reporter $17 million to make. Finishing closely behind in second place was last week’s champ, Rampage, with the Dwayne Johnson vehicle earning $21 million to bring its ten-day total to a Rock-solid $66 million.

The new movies debuted to solid numbers that, frankly, weren’t close the Avengers universe. Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, finished third with $16.2 million, while the R-rated comedy Super Troopers 2 earned a better-than-expected $14.7 million.

So now all eyes fall on Avengers: Infinity War. The Stark truth is that it will have a harder road to hit $1 billion because the summer movie season (which now includes late April) is much more crowded than the holiday season. It’s no coincidence that The Force Awakens and Avatar were released in late December, allowing for unobstructed runs through January, a fallow month in which few studios dare release major titles.

“As opposed to the four-minute mile, or a perfect 300 game of bowling, it’s a mark that hasn’t been reached yet,” said Dergarabedian. “But if any movie might be that box office unicorn, it might be this one.”

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