'Avengers: Endgame' earns an astronomical $350 million at the weekend box office, $1.2 billion globally — the biggest opening in movie history

Marvel Studios‘Avengers: Endgame.’
  • “Avengers: Endgame” took in an estimated $US350 million domestically in its opening weekend.
  • Globally, the movie grossed $US1.2 billion.
  • Both the global and domestic totals are the biggest opening weekend box office in history.
  • Here’s a breakdown of what happened this weekend.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Disney and Marvel Studios are used to winning the weekend box office when releasing its titles, but over the past few days its latest movie has performed like no other.

“Avengers: Endgame,” the close of the Infinity Saga – which focused on the formation of The Avengers and their battle with Thanos for the Infinity Stones – took in an estimated $US350 million over the weekend and a global total of $US1.2 billion, making it the biggest opening weekend of all time.

It’s a figure that completely destroyed the record held by the previous film in the franchise, “Avengers: Infinity War” ($US257.6 million) and is the first movie ever to cross $US300 million domestically its opening weekend.

The weekend take is even more incredible seeing that “Endgame” has a three hour running time, which major studios try to stay clear from as it means a lower number of daily movie showings at theatres. But the outcome shows how high a demand the movie was for audiences, as its performance completely changed how the industry operated to satisfy moviegoers.

Preparing for the onslaught

It goes all the way back to presales for “Endgame,” which were so high that it crippled the servers of many movie theatre websites and led to Fandango, the leader in online movie tickets, to create an online “waiting room” (the first time ever attempted by the site) to handle the onslaught of ticket purchases. It resulted in the best-selling day in the history for Fandango; also Atom Tickets and other theatre sites that could keep up with the demand to set records in business.

Then, leading up to this weekend, along with Disney set to put “Endgame” on over 4,600 screens (the most ever), AMC Theatres, the world’s largest theatre chain, announced that in the US it would open many of its theatres for 24 hours over the weekend. The chain also reported that it would play the movie a record-breaking 58,000 times this weekend – 10,000 more than the previous record held by “Infinity War.” (Over the weekend, AMC upped that figure to over 63,000 showtimes, leading to the chain having record-breaking attendance on Saturday of 2.6 million guests.)

But the craze for “Endgame” wasn’t just felt in the States. Audiences internationally couldn’t wait for the movie to open. In China, the second-largest movie market, “Endgame” took in over $US107 million its opening day in the Middle Kingdom. That’s the best single-day performance ever for a Hollywood release in China. (The movie also had the biggest 3D opening of all-time, with 45% of the movie’s global tally generated from 3D ticket sales.)

Avengers Endgame 2 DisneyDisneyRobert Downey Jr. in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

“We’re in the Endgame now”

Back in the US, “Endgame” gave a glimpse at what was in store for the weekend by taking in a record-breaking $US60 million in Thursday preview showings, crushing previous record-holder “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($US57 million). The movie followed that with a $US156.7 million Friday (counting Thursday previews), the biggest single-day performance for a movie ever (passing $US119 million by “Force Awakens”).

On Saturday, the movie brought in $US109 million, another record beating the $US82.1 million by “Infinity War” for the best second-day opening. And if you take away the Thursday preview figure “Endgame” had, the movie performed better on Saturday than it did its opening night.

Though earlier in the week there was doubt by some in the industry that “Endgame,” with a three hour run time, could hit the rarified air of a $US300 million opening, it turned out the movie hit the mark and powered through, coming in with an estimated $US350 million. It’s a figure that’s over $US92 million more than the $US257.6 million last year by “Infinity War,” the previous record holder.

And here’s another way to put the weekend “Endgame” had in perspective: the movie took in more domestically than the best weekend even for the industry in North America, which was the $US314 million take last summer, the weekend “Infinity War” opened.

Internationally, the movie took in over $US850 million, the biggest opening weekend ever. And in China it brought in $US330.5 million, giving the movie a $US1.2 billion global total. Another record.

The 2019 box office now looks brighter

“Endgame” didn’t just help business for movie ticket sites and theatres but also IMAX, which had a record-breaking weekend.

The movie was shot on IMAX cameras, so many fans wanted to see the movie on the large-format screen. By Friday, the movie had already broken IMAX’s record for best weekend ever with a global $US52.1 million take (the previous record was held by “The Force Awakens” with $US47.6 million). By the end of the weekend, it took in $US91.5 million.

That’s just one example of how the historic performance by “Endgame” has pushed the struggling 2019 box office on the right track.

The first quarter at the domestic box office was down over 16% compared to last year, but “Endgame” has single-handedly improved things, which can only get better with a strong slate of titles coming this summer and the final movie in the “Star Wars” Skywalker saga, “The Rise of Skywalker,” coming at the end of the year.

Read more: “Avengers: Endgame” is a mix of a heist movie and revenge tale that is even better than “Infinity War”

The fact is that the current box office era lives and dies on the performance of Disney releases. Before this weekend, it was “Captain Marvel” that was the top earner at the box office in 2019 and going forward, along with “Star Wars,” its movies like “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4,” and “Frozen II” that are going to motivate huge audiences to the multiplex.

But the performance by “Endgame” is astounding. With the movie’s reported $US356 million production budget (not counting the hundreds of millions in advertising), by the time official numbers come in on Monday Disney/Marvel Studios could already have broken even on the movie. It’s a feat that is mind boggling for a big Hollywood blockbuster. Industry folks were astonished when “Infinity War” only needed 10 days to get in the black.

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