$1.2 Billion: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ destroys box office expectations

While many thought that an opening of $300 million was too much to expect in North American theaters, Marvel‘s “Avengers: Endgames” defied expectations setting a whole new benchmark for how much the box office can expand. It truly is mind-blowing that it opened with more than $600 million than the previous record-breaking “Avengers: Infinity War.”

To see all the box office records “Endgame” has broken, check down here.

Even better, out of 378 Rotten Tomatoes critics, only 14 found fault in the film holding at an impressive 96 percent.

The universe belongs to Marvel. “Avengers: Endgame” shattered the record for biggest opening weekend with an estimated $350 million in ticket sales domestically and $1.2 billion globally, reaching a new pinnacle in the blockbuster era that the comic-book studio has come to dominate.

The “Avengers” finale far exceeded even its own gargantuan expectations, according to studio estimates Sunday. The movie had been forecast to open between $260 million and $300 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, but moviegoers turned out in such droves that “Endgame” blew past the previous record of $257.7 million, set last year by “Avengers: Infinity War” when it narrowly surpassed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($248 million or about $266 million in inflation adjusted dollars.)

“Endgame” was just as enormous overseas. Worldwide, it obliterated the previous record of $640.5 million, also set by “Infinity War.” (“Infinity War” didn’t open in China, the world’s second largest movie market, until two weeks after its debut.) “Endgame” set a new weekend record in China, too, where it made $330.5 million.

In one fell swoop, “Endgame” has already made more than movies like “Skyfall,” ″Aquaman” and “The Dark Knight Rises” grossed in their entire runs, not accounting for inflation.

Alan Horn, Disney chairman, credited Marvel Studios and its president, Kevin Feige, for challenging “notions of what is possible at the movie theater.”

“This weekend’s monumental success is a testament to the world they’ve envisioned, the talent involved, and their collective passion, matched by the irrepressible enthusiasm of fans around the world,” Horn said in a statement.

To accommodate demand, the Walt Disney Co. released “Endgame” in more theaters — 4,662 in the U.S. and Canada — than any opening before. Advance ticketing services set new records. Early ticket buyers crashed AMC’s website. And starting Thursday, some theaters even stayed open 72 hours straight.

“We’ve got some really tired staff,” said John Fithian, president and chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners. “I talked to an exhibitor in Kansas who said, ‘I’ve never sold out a 7 a.m. show on Saturday morning before,’ and they were doing it all across their circuit.”

Not working in the film’s favor was its lengthy running time: 161 minutes. But theaters kept added thousands of showings for “Endgame” to get it on more screens than any movie before to satiate the frenzy around “Endgame.” Joe and Anthony Russo’s film ties together the “Avengers” storyline as well as the previous 22 releases of the Marvel “cinematic universe,” begun with 2008′s “Iron Man.” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige might disagree as he likes to include the upcoming “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in with this batch making it 23.

“We want the movies to reflect the audience and we want every member of our global audience to see themselves reflected on the screen,” Feige said in a junket interview. “And that’s what we’ve been doing for a long time. And certainly, that’s what we’re focusing on going forward.”

For an industry dogged by uncertainty over the growing role of streaming, the weekend was a mammoth display of the movie theater’s lucrative potency. Fithian called it possibly “the most significant moment in the modern history of the movie business.”

“We’re looking at more than 30 million American and more than 100 million global guests that experienced ‘Endgame’ on the big screen in one weekend,” Fithian said. “The numbers are just staggering.”

Further boosting the results for “Endgame” were good reviews; it currently ranks as 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, the best rating for any Marvel movie aside from “Black Panther.” Audiences gave the film an A-plus CinemaScore.

Single-handedly, “Endgame” led the overall weekend at the domestic box office to a record $400 million in ticket sales, according to Comscore. “Endgame” accounted for a staggering 88% of those tickets. The film’s grosses were aided by 3-D screenings (a record $540 million in global ticket sales) and IMAX screenings (a company record $91.5 million).

“Our partners in exhibition have done a great job with us on this film. As they saw the need, they opened up screens,” said Cathleen Taft, distribution chief for Disney. “While there may have been a concern — Is there going to be enough seats available? — I think that exhibition met that demand and rose to the occasion.”

But if there was any shadow to the weekend for the theatrical business, it was in just how reliant theaters have grown on one studio: Disney.

Disney now holds all but one of the top 12 box-office openings of all time. (Universal’s “Jurassic World” is the lone exception.) The studio is poised for a record-breaking year, with releases including “Aladdin,” ″Toy Story 4,” ″The Lion King,” ″Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Frozen 2” on the horizon.

Following its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney is expected to account for at least 40% of domestic box-office revenue in 2019, a new record of market share. The company’s “Captain Marvel” — positioned as a kind of Marvel lead-in to “Endgame” — also rose to No. 2 on the weekend, eight weeks after it opened.

But theater owners regularly speak of a “halo effect” around a movie like “Endgame.” Such sensations draw in new moviegoers and expose millions to a barrage of movie trailers.

“This has got to be the biggest weekend in popcorn history,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “Think of the gallons of soda and the hot dogs sold. This is going to continue all week and beyond. This is going to have long-term playability for sure.”

An enormous hit was much needed for a box office that, coming into the weekend, was lagging 16% of the pace of last year’s ticket sales, according to Comscore. “Endgame” moved the needle to negative 13.3% but the boost was less significant since “Infinity War” opened on the same weekend in 2018.

No other new wide release dared to open against “Endgame.” Warner Bros.′ “The Curse of La Llorona,” last week’s top movie, slid to third with $7.5 million.

The guessing game will now shift to just how much higher “Endgame” can go. Given its start, it’s likely to rival the top three worldwide grossers: “The Force Awakens” ($2.068 billion in 2015), “Titanic ($2.187 billion in 1997) and “Avatar” ($2.788 in 2009).

North America Box Office

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. “Avengers: Endgame,” $350 million ($859 million international).

2. “Captain Marvel,” $8.1 million.

3. “The Curse of La Llorona,” $7.5 million.

4. “Breakthrough,” $6.3 million.

5. “Shazam!” $5.5 million.

6. “Little,” $3.4 million.

7. “Dumbo,” $3.2 million.

8. “Pet Sematary,” $1.3 million.

9. “Us,” $1.1 million.

10. “Penguins,” $1.1 million.

Worldwide Box Office

avengers endgame makes more movie history 2019 images

Avengers: Endgame Records Broken

Biggest Global Launch — $1.2 Billion

“Endgame’s” massive worldwide haul of $1.209 billion easily topped the previous record $640.5 million debut of “Avengers: Infinity War” on the same weekend a year ago. It helped that “Endgame” opened simultaneously in China, while “Infinity War” debuted in the Middle Kingdom two weeks after rolling out in much of the rest of the world. When factoring in China’s opening, “Infinity War” debuted to roughly $847 million worldwide.

Biggest Opening in North America — $350 Million

“Infinity War” was the previous record holder at $257.6 million, followed by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”($248 million), “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($220 million) and “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million).

Biggest International Debut — $859 Million

It took “Endgame” only three days — Wednesday through Friday — to surpass the high-water mark of the foreign debut of “The Fate of the Furious”($443.2 million) before finishing Sunday with its massive offshore total.

Biggest China Opening — $330.5 Million

“Endgame’s” foreign tally includes a record-shattering five-day launch of $330.5 million in China, where it’s already the No. 4 Western film of all time. The pic also scored the biggest opening day of all time there with $107.8 million.

Widest Release of All Time in the U.S. and Canada

Disney made up for “Endgame’s” three-hour running time by opening the movie in 4,662 theaters in North America, besting the location count of “Despicable Me 3”(4,529), “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”(4,475), “Infinity War” (4,474) and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” (4,468).

Top Wide Opening Location Average — $75,075

“The Force Awakens,” which bowed in 4,134 sites, was the previous record holder with an opening location average of $59,982.

Biggest Opening/Single Day Domestically

The superhero pic earned a massive $156.7 million on its first Friday, including $60 million in Thursday evening previews, to easily topple the mark set by “The Force Awakens”on its first Friday with $119 million, including $57 million in previews.

Biggest Saturday Domestically

“Endgame” grossed another $109 million on its second day, dwarfing “Infinity War’s” Saturday gross of $82.1 million.

Fuels Top Domestic Weekend of All Time

Combined ticket sales clocked in at $397 million-plus in North America, by far the top showing of all time. The previous record of $314 million belonged to the weekend “Infinity War” opened.

Makes History in Numerous Foreign Markets

In addition to China — where it is already the No. 4 title of all time — “Endgame” scored the biggest opening weekend in 43 markets, including the U.K./Ireland, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and France.

Top Imax Opening

The large-format contributed $91.5 million, an all-time best.

Top Advance Preseller

Online ticket services Fandango and Atom Ticket say “Endgame” racked up more advance sales than any title in history.