Even before Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame was released by Disney into 4,662 theaters today, it had already been setting records.
The first of them was that theater count, which sets a new record over the Universal’s 2017 movie Despicable Me 3 (4,535 theaters). Also, Fandango reported that Endgame is its top advance pre-seller of all time, even surpassing the 2017 franchise return of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s also doing very well overseas, but we’ll get to that.
Friday morning, Disney reported an estimated $60 million for Thursday previews, which is indeed a new record for previews and $21 million more than the Thursday previews for Avengers: Infinity War last year. It’s also $3 million more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which went onto make $248 million in its first weekend, setting a new opening record. Infinity War ended up beating that record last year with a $257.7 million opening last year.
Before we get to what those previews tell us about Endgame‘s opening weekend, we should look at a few comparisons:
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
$39 million Thursday previews
$106.3 million Friday
$257.7 million weekend
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
$18.7 million midnight*
$80.8 million Friday
$207. 4 million weekend
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
$57 million Thursday previews
$119.1 million Friday
$248 million weekend
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
$45 million Thursday previews
$104.6 million Friday
$220 million weekend
Black Panther (2018)
$25.2 million Thursday previews
$75.9 million Friday
$202 million weekend
Captain Marvel (2019)
$207. million Thursday previews
$61.7 million Friday
$153.4 million weekend
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2010)
$24 million midnights*
$91 million Friday
$169.2 million weekend
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
$30.6 million midnights*
$75.7 million Friday
$160.9 million weekend
*NOTE: Before 2013, it wasn’t as common to have Thursday previews, and most movies would only start showing at midnight on Thursdays. As 7pm and earlier screens began being offered, the box office for previews went up accordingly.
If Endgame matches Infinity War in terms of its hold over the weekend than that would mean nearly a $400 million weekend, but it’s more likely to be more frontloaded due to the demand to see Marvel’s latest as soon as possible. Either way, it’s definitely going to come very close to $300 million for the weekend if business holds up. Mind you, using Force Awakens as a weekend comparison would put Endgame closer to Infinity War in the $260 to 270 million range. My own prediction was $282 million… right in the middle.
Another thing that needs to be considered is that Avengers: Endgame is one of those rare event movies where demand is so great that quite a few theaters are showing the movie almost around the clock. Who knows to what time these Thursday preview estimates were counted*? Screenings after midnight might not be included in that estimate, although all Thursday grosses will be cumulated into the Friday estimate reported on Saturday morning.
(*UPDATE: I’ve been informed that the $60 million estimate is for screenings beginning at 5pm on Thursday and ending 5AM on Friday morning.)
Avengers: Endgame has already made more than $169 million overseas with China contributing $107.5 million in its very first day. It has also set opening records in a few other countries, but the main roll-out happens today.
Check back on Saturday for an update on how well Avengers: Endgame did in its first full day and then on Monday for the final weekend box office wrap-up.
Edward Douglas has been writing about movies and other forms of entertainment for over 25 years, so he’s probably older than you.