‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Heads to Biggest Box Office Opening of All-Time

Marvel film debuts with estimated $250M, which would pass 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'.

April 29, 2018 1:52 pm
Avengers box office
Not every movie has the same box office draw as "The Avengers" franchise.(Marvel Studios)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe may have just rocketed past the Star Wars franchise with the biggest movie opening of all time on our planet.

Avengers: Infinity War debuted with an estimated $250 million at the box office this weekend — a total that, if it holds up when actual returns are released Monday, would best Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) for the biggest North American opening of all time.  The film also earned an estimated $380 million internationally, which brings Disney’s total haul to  $630 million worldwide, another all-time record.

And the third installment in the Avengers franchise hasn’t even reached China yet.

“This is the kind of movie that going to the movies was made for,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior box office analyst for ComScore told RealClearLife. “The whole world can agree on something this weekend and that’s Infinity War.

“Can it hit $1 billion by the end of the week? I don’t know, I’ve never been in this territory before — nobody has.”

Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), in b/g M’Baku (Winston Duke), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). ©Marvel Studios 2018

A few months ago, nobody would have given the film much of a chance to overtake The Force Awakens, which was powered by the fanatic interest in the first new Star Wars movie in a decade (and the first good Star Wars movie in 32 years.)

“That was the big question mark going into the weekend — can Disney beat Disney? Can Marvel beat Lucasfilm?” said Dergarabedian. “The run-up to The Force Awakens was decades in the making, this came out (just two months after the last Marvel film.) So experts may have underestimated the power of the Marvel brand.”

That recent Marvel movie, however, was Black Panther, the highest grossing movie in that studio’s history to date and a film that proved a cultural touchstone for audiences of color who were underrepresented in the genre. The love of that character is so strong that Black Panther, the third highest grossing film of all time, finished this weekend in the fifth spot, adding another $4.4 million to its coffers. Having him back for soon on screen definitely was a factor in the historic box office performance of Infinity War.

Then there was the emotional investment moviegoers had made in watching ten years of Marvel films, which seemed to be building to a payoff in Infinity War. (This movie’s big bad, Thanos, first appeared in a cameo at the end of 2012’s Avengers.) There’s no underselling the appeal of seeing all of the major Marvel heroes — including Doctor Strange, The Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man — interact with each other in one film.

“On its opening day, it made over $100 million,” said Dergarabedian. “And for any movie to achieve this level of success, you have to an across-the-board enthusiastic response.”

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