Sometimes, it’s hard to know what words to use when a movie breaks box office records, but in the case of Avengers: Endgame, we can simply call what happened this weekend positively mind-blowing. Endgame absolutely shattered expectations, delivering an opening weekend of $350 million, Box Office Mojo is reporting. And we should note that’s according to studio estimates, meaning that those numbers could get still bigger once final figures come in tomorrow.
To use a reference to the ending of last year’s Infinity War, it’s as though Endgame snapped its fingers and destroyed the record books.
Given the unprecedented box office dominance we are seeing here, it’s hard to know what to compare Endgame to in terms of similar openings. Endgame was the conclusion of a massive two-part sequel, something Disney hadn’t attempted since the releases of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End back in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Dead Man’s Chest took the record for best opening weekend at the time with $135 million, and like Infinity War, it ended with a cliffhanger as popular swashbuckler hero Jack Sparrow was killed. The following year, bullish projections saw At World’s End doing the same thing, and while it took home the record for biggest Memorial Day weekend opening (a title it still holds, twelve years later!), it fell short of meeting Dead Man’s Chest’s debut. Like At World’s End, Endgame is a lengthy and rather dialogue-heavy film that saves most of its fireworks for the final reel. But whereas the marketing for At World’s End promised audiences that Jack Sparrow would return alive and well, the trailers for Endgame didn’t offer that kind of reassurance, offering fans no glimpses of the characters that had perished in the previous outing.
Endgame actually marked the third time that the Avengers have taken the record for best opening weekend of all time. In 2012, Marvel’s The Avengers opened to $207 million, dropping jaws as it became the first film to ever cross the $200 million mark over the course of three days. In 2015, Jurassic World surprised by just inching past that record with a take of $208 million, just $1 million more than The Avengers had done. The dinosaurs didn’t get to enjoy that record for very long, however, as Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened that Christmas to the tune of $247 million, or roughly nearly $40 million more than Jurassic World had made. A few years later, the Avengers came along to take the title back with Infinity War, which made $257 million or roughly $10 million more than The Force Awakens managed. Endgame surpassed that record by more than $90 million, and if you want to know how big that number is, it used to the best opening ever itself for Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone back in 2001 (and as an aside, Endgame surpassed the entire domestic gross of that film in a single weekend).
Two advantages Endgame had going into the weekend were excellent tracking and a “hush, hush” attitude from the marketing which literally urged people not to spoil the film for others. This encouraged people to see the film as soon as possible, lest they have plot secrets given away to them online or at the water cooler. The movie was also a word-of-mouth hit, earning a rare “A+” CinemaScore (which might be a bit surprising given some rather dark turns the film takes), and with no strong competition opening next weekend, Endgame could see itself breaking even more records next week, as the next big summer movie is Detective Pikachu on May 10th.
The news doesn’t end there. Endgame also astonished internationally, making $1.2 billion in terms of global receipts, meaning it’s already the biggest movie of 2019 worldwide. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel saw itself get a boost from Endgame’s success, as it managed to make second place during its eighth week of release. Next up for Marvel and Disney is Spider-Man: Far From Home this July, while the Mouse House still has Aladdin, The Lion King, Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker all set to come to theaters before the year is over.
Final figures are due tomorrow.