Avengers Endgame broke records and may finally challenge Avatar as box office champ

I usually reserve posts about movies for Friday afternoons or the weekends but what happened with Avengers: Endgame this weekend was pretty extraordinary. The film broke every opening weekend record that exists, earning an estimated $1.2 billion dollars in its first five days. To put that in perspective, Endgame made more in its opening weekend than Captain Marvel did in its entire run. Same for Captain America: Civil War.

The number of records the film broke this weekend is actually too many to recount, but for example, Endgame is the #1 worldwide opening, the #1 domestic opening, the #1 foreign opening, the highest single-day gross, the highest single-day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s the #1 weekend opening. The fastest to make $100 million, $200 million, $300 million, etc. And it’s the highest per-screen gross.

Executives at Disney had predicted a strong domestic opening in the range of $250 million domestically. On Saturday they had to revise that estimate upward and the film wound up making an estimated $350 million. That’s especially noteworthy because the film is 3 hours long. Once you add in all the previews and time for people to enter and exit the theater, it can only be shown 3 times in each 12 hour period. The big question now is where it will end up. It seems likely to finally knock James Cameron’s Titanic out of the #2 worldwide slot but no one is sure if it can dethrone Avatar. From the Hollywood Reporter:

The looming question now: Does the Disney and Marvel superhero pic have a shot at dethroning Avatar’s $2.78 billion and becoming the top-grossing movie of all time worldwide? Box office analysts say that would be a tough feat…

To match or best Avatar, Endgame would need to do more than 2.3 times its opening, a reasonable expectation for many successful tentpoles. However, no film has ever opened to this level…

Domestically, Endgame is expected to sail past $750 million by the end of its run, if not more. The top earners to date in North America are Force Awakens ($936.7 million), Avatar ($760.5 million), Black Panther ($700.1 million) and Infinity War ($678.8 million) and Titanic ($659.4 million), not adjusted.

Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore tells THR, “Who knows, could $3 billion even be a possibility? Less than a week ago, we thought it would be impossible for Endgame to open to more than $300 million or make a billion globally in its debut. Nothing is off the table when it comes to this film.”

I saw the film on Sunday and, without spoiling anything, I’ll just say it’s a very satisfying movie. But it’s more than just another diversion at this point. As a kid who grew up around comic books it’s exciting to see this embraced on an unprecedented global scale. Something I thought was fun and exciting when I was 10 is now something millions of people in China are excited about. If you don’t get how unpredictable and weird that is, think about what it would mean if the biggest film in America right now was about Captain China. This niche part of our culture—comic books about superheroes created (mostly) in the 1960s—is now something that people everywhere have in common. That’s what these tremendous box office numbers mean.