Box Office Preview – AVENGERS: ENDGAME is Ready to Obliterate the Box Office
Welcome back to the Beat’s weekly Box Office Preview!
Not sure I really need to tell anyone what movie is opening this Friday, because it’s a movie that may have one of the biggest anticipation factors… maybe ever? That’s right. Marvel fans had to wait a WHOLE YEAR to find out what happens next after the climactic ending of Avengers: Infinity War, and that brings us to…
AVENGERS: ENDGAME (Marvel/Disney)
Cast: Brie Larson, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Karen Gillan, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Brolin, Tom Holland? Chadwick Boseman? Bendict Cumberbatch? Sebastian Stan? Elizabeth Olsen? Don Cheadle? (sniff)
Directed By: Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War,Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, You, Me and Dupree)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
To say that Avengers: Endgame is the “BIG ONE” would be the understatement of the century, and that is no hyperbole either… even if it sounds like it is. Okay, it probably is, but hey, that’s the world we live in now.
Last year’s Avengers: Infinity War set a new opening record of $257.7 million, besting the opening for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which kicked off a new series for that venerable franchise. Obviously, Marvel fans were dying to find out where the storyline with Thanos would go, who would live and who would die, the story having been set-up over the course of a decade of Marvel movies. The cliffhanger ending of Infinity War floored fans and left them immediately wanting more.
Even though we might be entering new territory with Endgame, there are some precedents to consider.
In fact, before we go on, let’s look at some numbers for comparison’s sake:
Marvel’s Avengers (5/4/12)
$207.4 million opening / $623.3 million domestic total
Avengers: Age of Ultron (5/1/15)
$191.3 million / $459 million
Avengers: Infinity War (4/27/18)
$257.7 million / $678.8 million
Captain America: Civil War (5/6/16)
$179.1 million / $408.8 million
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (11/4/16)
$248 million / $936.6 million
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (12/15/17)
$220.1 million / $620.2 million
When Marvel’s The Avengers opened with more than $200 million in 2012, many thought we had seen the biggest opening weekend we might ever see. In 2015, Jurassic World beat that record, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens besting Jurassic World later that same year. The Force Awakens went on to become the highest-grossing movie in North American history with $936.6 million, and Infinity War didn’t even come close to that amount. It wasn’t even able to best Black Panther’s $700 million domestic gross earlier last year, although it did come close.
Something that’s good to point out is that despite the success of 2012’s Avengers, its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron opened softer and made less money in total, maybe because it wasn’t a direct sequel. Similarly, The Last Jedi opened about $28 million softer than its predecessor and didn’t even come close to the monster gross of Force Awakens. Bearing that in mind, one would think that might be the same case with Endgame. Nope!
First of all, Endgame is the direct sequel to a monster blockbuster, and obviously, fans are going to want to see the movie as soon as possible in fear of having the movie spoiled for them. In fact, Marvel and the Russo Brothers (directing their fourth Marvel movie) have gone out of their way to keep as much about the movie a secret as possible, not showing the movie to anyone before the premiere on Monday night.
What’s interesting is that Endgame is the height of the Marvel Universe where the movies no longer rely on one star like Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans to succeed. It’s very much the sum of the parts as Brie Larson and Benedict Cumberbatch and even Paul Rudd have managed to sustain blockbuster-grossing solo movies on their own, and bringing them together has a similar effect of the very first Avengers movie.
Not only is the “sequel factor” very much in play, but there’s also the “ending of a franchise” factor, which creates an elevated interest. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a good example of how that story ending after eight movies made the last one even more of an event. Oddly, The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 2 didn’t get quite the same bump, with the finale making less than Part 1.
Although I personally have been avoiding reviews and reactions for Endgame until I get to see the movie myself, Avengers: Endgame is already proving itself one of those review-proof phenomena that any positive reviews or reactions will only help to bring in any of the few non-believers. It’s absolutely no surprise that most of the earliest reviews were positive either.
Our own Kyle Pinion also reviewed it.
When tickets went on sale for Avengers: Endgame a few weeks back, it almost literally broke the internet with demand, setting a new record for Fandango and other ticket resellers for the highest first day of sales. At this point, many Thursday night and Friday screenings are already sold out, as are many of the premium showing in IMAX and the like, so that’s a lot of money already made. (In other words, those reviews won’t really matter either way.) On Monday, it was reported that the movie had already sold somewhere between $120 and 140 million in tickets, which is huge, but that could also point to an over-saturation of advance ticket-buying that would account for the number of sell-outs on Thursday and Friday. (There are a few theaters in the country which are showing Endgame literally around the clock all weekend… just in case someone wants to see it at 3 in the morning.)
Apparently, the movie also has the largest and most expensive marketing campaign ever staged by Disney for a Marvel movie, though that shouldn’t be too surprising, as the studio has been flying most of the cast around the world for international junkets. Obviously, this movie is going to be as big overseas (or even bigger), and matching Infinity War’s $2 billion gross shouldn’t be too big a problem.
Domestically, Disney is going to give the movie their widest release for a movie ever in more than 4,600 theaters, which is very close to every theater apart from arthouses. That should best Despicable Me 3’s current record of 4,529 theaters in 2017, and The Force Awakens’ record of $59,982 for a theatrical average might also be toast after this weekend.
What’s interesting is that while Endgame should set a new opening record and open bigger than Infinity War, it could be more frontloaded to the point where it will only make slightly more in total. You see, there is a certain saturation of moviegoers who will see Endgame in theaters, and it’s basically the same people who went to see Infinity War in theaters, although more of them might go out opening weekend.
I think we’re looking at quite a few new records, although I’m not sure The Force Awakens’ $57 million Thursday preview is in danger. In that case, we’re talking about almost a decade of anticipation for another movie, whereas for Endgame its just one year. On the other hand, Force Awakens’ single day record of $119 million could be taken down when you add Endgame’s Thursday previews into Friday.
I think we’re looking at around $48 million on Thursday, $125 million on Friday, including those previews — that would break Force Awakens’ single day record — and then somewhere around $280 million for the weekend. (I’m not brave enough to state that this can open with $300 million even if it did sell tickets faster than InfinityWar – “faster” is not the same as “more.” Sunday may also see a massive drop due to an important episode of Game of Thrones, too.) The movie should also hold up well for a few weekends with Warners’ Detective Pikachu on May 10 being the first real threat, and that’s not for two more weeks. It’s officially summer, folks!
(Feel free to give your own predictions below!)
This Week’s Box Office Predictions:
- Avengers: Endgame (Marvel / Disney) – $282 million N/A
2 – 10. Who Cares?!?
Just kidding… expect big drops as many theaters give up screens to meet the demand for Endgame.
- The Curse of La Llorona (New Line/WB) – $11.1 million -58%
- Shazam! (New Line / WB) – $7.8 million -53%
- Breakthrough (20th Century Fox) – $6.2 million -45%
- Captain Marvel (Marvel Studios/Disney) – $4.5 millon -51%
- Little (Universal) – $3.5 million -52%
- Dumbo (Disney) – $3.1 million -55%
- Missing Link (U.A. Releasing) – $2.3 million -45%
- Pet Sematary (Paramount) – $2.2 million -55%
- Us (Universal) – $2 million -52%
It may seem like suicide for ANY movie to open against Avengers: Endgame, but there are still a few independent genre films giving it a go, including Roxanne Benjamin‘s thriller Body at Brighton Rock (Magnolia), Josh Lobo’s paranoid thriller I Trapped the Devil (IFC Midnight), as well as Ralph Fiennes’ The White Crow (Sony Pictures Classics) about Rudolf Nureyev’s defection to the West.
Check back through the weekend for updates on how Avengers: Endgame is doing, as far as breaking all those records mentioned above.
Next week, four new movies will tackle the second weekend of Avengers: Endgame. Competing for 2nd place, at best, is Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron in the comedy Long Shot, the thriller The Intruder, STXfilms’ UglyDolls and the action-thriller El Chicano.
Edward Douglas has been writing about movies and other forms of entertainment for over 25 years, so he’s probably older than you.