After 11 years, 22 films and more than $19 billion in box office grosses, Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” marks a culmination of sorts for the superhero blockbuster franchise, shattering records in its first weekend of release.
The film opened with $1.2 billion in global receipts, which includes the biggest-ever North American debut of $350 million and international grosses of $859 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.
That makes it the first movie in history to surpass $1 billion in its opening weekend, reaching that threshold in just five days, more than twice as fast as predecessor “Avengers: Infinity War,” which held the record at 11 days.
“Though ‘Endgame’ is far from an end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these first 22 films constitute a sprawling achievement,” Disney Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement. “Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team have continued to challenge notions of what is possible at the movie theater both in terms of storytelling and at the box office.”
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the time-altering film posted a record $60 million in Thursday previews and was screened in a record 4,662 theaters. It was extremely well received, with an A-plus CinemaScore (the third MCU film to do so after “The Avengers” and “Black Panther”) and a 96% “fresh” score from review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. AMC set attendance records Saturday with more than 2.6 million guests, with 19 locations operating for 24 hours from Thursday night through Sunday.
In a single weekend, “Endgame” outgrossed the entire domestic runs of 13 Marvel Cinematic Universe titles including “Iron Man,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
The film is just the second in history to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras and nearly doubled IMAX’s worldwide opening weekend record with $91.5 million in ticket sales. About 45% of the estimated $1.2 billion worldwide grosses were generated from 3-D ticket sales.
This is Marvel and Disney’s second billion-dollar release of 2019, along with “Captain Marvel,” and Marvel's eighth billion-dollar film ever. Marvel now holds the top two largest global debuts of all time (with “Avengers: Infinity War”), six of the top 10 domestic debuts and two of the top three international debuts.
“Captain Marvel” has been one of the few bright spots for a 2019 box office that has seen overall domestic totals trailing 2018 by 16.4% heading into this weekend. “Endgame’s” huge opening, however, trimmed the deficit to 11.3% and is expected to reduce the figure even more as the summer heats up.
Benefiting from its franchise affiliation, “Captain Marvel” climbed back into the No. 2 spot in its eighth weekend, earning $8 million for a cumulative $413.6 million.
Though the weekend’s total gross was a record $393.7 million, many films saw a steep decline from the previous week. In third place, Warner Bros.’ “The Curse of La Llorona” added $7.5 million in its second weekend (a 72% drop) for a cumulative $41.3 million.
At No. 4, Fox's “Breakthrough” added $6.3 million (a modest 44% drop) in its second week for a cumulative $26.1 million.
Rounding out the top five, Warner Bros.’ “Shazam!” added $5.5 million (a 66% drop) in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $131.1 million.
Universal’s “Little” landed at No. 6 in its third weekend, adding $3.4 million for a cumulative $35.8 million.
Disney’s “Dumbo” came in seventh, adding $3.2 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $107 million.
Paramount’s “Pet Sematary” now in its fourth weekend, came in eighth, adding $1.3 million for a cumulative $52.6 million.
Universal’s “Us” came in at No. 9, adding $1.1 million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative $172.8 million.
In 10th place, Disney Nature’s “Penguins” added $1 million in its second weekend for a cumulative $5.7 million.
The primary specialty release was Sony Pictures Classics’ Rudolf Nureyev drama “The White Crow,” directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, which earned $80,675 in five locations for an average of $16,135.