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'Avengers' big opening sets stage for record weekend, tops 'Star Wars'

Disney estimates the weekend grosses in the US and Canada will range between $310 million and $340 million, in line with Box Office Pro and Box Office Mojo forecasts

Christopher Palmeri & Anousha Sakoui | Bloomberg 

Thanos

The have an edge over

“Avengers: Endgame” took in a domestic record of $156.7 million on its first day, including Thursday night previews, and looks set for an all-time high opening this weekend. The previous record was held by “Star Wars: Awakens,” which earned $119 million in 2015.

Internationally, “Endgame” has grossed $487 million, also a record. Fans in China are lapping up the action, all three hours-plus of it. The numbers there have already passed the previous opening weekend record set by “Avengers: Infinity War” with Saturday and Sunday still to come.

The picture, the latest installment from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel studio, caps a 22-movie storyline that began with “Iron Man” in 2008. The superheroes, including Captain America, Hulk and Black Widow, are now battling the intergalactic villain Thanos, who was last seen wiping out half the living creatures in the universe.

Disney estimates the weekend grosses in the US and Canada will range between $310 million and $340 million, in line with Box Office Pro and Box Office Mojo forecasts. Exhibitor Relations put the three-day number at $295 million, while the Hollywood Stock Exchange predicts $292 million. Disney, which also owns the Star Wars franchise and is usually cautious with forecasts, had originally suggested an opening weekend in the $300 million range.

Anything above $258 million will set the record, one established just last year by “Avengers: Infinity War.”

With this kind of juice, there’s every reason to believe “Endgame” will challenge the $2.07 billion worldwide gross of “Star Wars: Awakens,” set in 2015. Only two other films in Hollywood history have taken in more: “Avatar” in 2009 and “Titanic,” released in 1997.

One thing is clear: The Marvel machine has been a huge moneymaker for Disney. Last year’s “Infinity War,” for example, earned an estimated $985 million in profit, including TV, toys and theater ticket sales.

First Published: Sun, April 28 2019. 07:57 IST