Avengers: Endgame smashes box office records with $1.2bn opening weekend

Last installment from Disney’s Marvel studio has become the first film to exceed $1bn in its opening, a level reached in five days

Popcorn buckets with Avengers images are seen during an early premiere of “The Avengers: Endgame” movie. Photograph: David Mercado/Reuters

Popcorn buckets with Avengers images are seen during an early premiere of “The Avengers: Endgame” movie. Photograph: David Mercado/Reuters

 

The Avengers smashed box office records like never before with an astonishing $1.2 billion in its opening weekend.

“Avengers: Endgame” earned $350 million alone in the US and Canada, blowing through the $258 million mark held by the superhero team’s own gloved hands with last year’s “Infinity War.”

Walt Disney now boasts the top four spots for opening weekends in the US and Canada, rounded out by “The Last Jedi” and “The Force Awakens” from the Star Wars franchise, according to researcher Comscore Inc.

The film took in $330.5 million in China, just one of the opening records set in 44 countries, Disney said Sunday.

Walt Disney shares hit record levels after the film shattered box-office records. Shares of Disney gained as much as 1.8 per cent in the stock’s fifth straight daily gain, though it subsequently pared its initial bounce. AMC Entertainment jumped as much as 3.6 per cent and IMAX climbed 4 per cent.

The picture, the latest installment from Disney’s Marvel studio, caps a 22-movie storyline that began with “Iron Man” in 2008. The Avengers superheroes, including Captain America, Hulk and Black Widow, are now battling the intergalactic villain Thanos, who was last seen wiping out half the living creatures in the universe.

“We are floored and amazed by the response from all the moviegoers and fans around the world,” said Cathleen Taff, the president of distribution for Walt Disney Pictures, said in an interview.

While there was wide appeal, results were clearly driven by a young, male audience. The crowds were 57 percent male, with the biggest cohort of 28 per cent between the ages of 25 to 34 -- essentially the people who were there for the birth of the franchise in their teenage and early adult years. Families comprised just 18 percent of the audience, a figure that may rise after the initial crush of the testosterone crowd who lined up for tickets days. Taff expects more families and younger viewers to turn up to future screenings as the film plays on.

“It’s going to play for quite a while.” Disney, which also owns the Star Wars franchise and is usually cautious with forecasts, had originally suggested an opening weekend in the $300 million range.

With this kind of juice, there’s every reason to believe “Endgame” will challenge the $2.07 billion worldwide gross of “The Force Awakens,” set in 2015. Only two other films in Hollywood history have taken in more: “Avatar” in 2009 and “Titanic,” released in 1997. T

he Marvel machine has been a huge moneymaker for Disney. Last year’s “Infinity War,” for example, earned an estimated $985 million in profit, including TV, toys and theater ticket sales, according to SandP Global.

Looking forward, Disney’s Taff would not say whether it was possible to top this record. “While this is an end in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is certainly not THE end,” she said. “It’s going to open up a whole new world of possibilities.” – Bloomberg