Avengers: Endgame breaks box office records, and a look at Summer Blockbuster Season

Cairns on Cinema

John Cairns

Welcome to our annual Summer Blockbuster Season predictions, and once again summer has come early to the box office.

Yes, after pulling off the stunt last year of opening a week before the unofficial start of Blockbuster Season, the folks in charge of the Avengers franchise have done it again.

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The fourth and final movie of the series, Avengers: Endgame, has already opened this past weekend in the domestic and worldwide markets – a full week before the traditional first-weekend-in-May kickoff to the summer season.

The box office results have been staggering. Avengers: Endgame has just pulled off the biggest worldwide opening of all time, at $1.2 billion U.S. for Marvel Studios and Disney.

It is the first motion picture in history to earn over a billion dollars in its opening weekend, and it did it in just five days of release! The previous record was set a year ago by Avengers: Infinity War at $640.5 million.

The movie’s domestic weekend haul was staggering: $356 million over three days, breaking the previous record of $257.69 million set by Avengers: Infinity War last year. Its international opening weekend was $859 million, shattering the previous record of $443.15 million set by The Fate of the Furious. Of the grand total, $330 million is from the Chinese market.

Add it all together and the haul worldwide tops over $1.2 billion. This, my friends, is ridiculous.

Box Office Mojo is reporting several other domestic records have also fallen: largest Thursday previews ($60 million, beating Star Wars: The Force Awakens by $3 million), widest opening at 4,662 theatres, largest Friday, largest Opening Day and largest Single Day hauls over $156.7 million (topping Star Wars: The Force Awakens by $37.6 million), largest Saturday at $109 million, largest Sunday at 84.3 million, largest Number One Movie market share at 90 percent, highest per theatre average for a wide opening at $75,075, and the largest April opening, spring opening, PG-13 opening, and three-day gross.

This movie also set a number of “fastest-to” records, including fastest to $100 million, fastest to $200 million, fastest to $300 million and fastest to $350 million. No doubt it will soon set records for “fastest to $400 million”, “fastest to $500 million” and so on.

Obviously the countdown is now on to see if this movie topples Avatar to become the biggest grossing movie of all time worldwide. Avatar holds the worldwide record at $2.87 billion, while the domestic box office record is held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $936,662,225. Even with the other summer competition on the way, you would think both of these major box office records are now in jeopardy.

Given what we have just seen from Avengers: Endgame I find it hard to fathom that any other movie is going to do better at the box office this summer. The hype for this flick has taken on a life of its own.   

From what I see ahead, the next big blockbuster at the movies is likely Pokemon - Detective Pikachu on May 9: this will do big business simply because it’s Pokemon.

Next is John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellumon May 17 and Aladdin on May 24. Then a week later you have the wide release for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, released by Warner Bros. and you have to know I will be in the audience for that one.

(This latest Godzilla flick opens the same weekend as Rocketman, that biopic about Elton John, but I see the big green monster doing much better at the box office.) 

June 7 will see X-Men: Dark Phoenix go up against The Secret Life of Pets 2, and then on June 14 we see another battle as Men in Black International takes on Shaft.

Then the real box-office heavy hitters will start to be released. June 21 will see Toy Story 4, the latest in the signature Pixar franchise.

July 2 will see Spider-Man: Far from Home, which should clean up simply because it is Spider-Man and Marvel.

On July 19 is The Lion King, the live action version of the animated feature that was such a big hit in the nineties.

The next week, July 26, will see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood roll out – the latest Quentin Tarantino flick set during the height of Charles Manson-era Hollywood.

One more movie that catches my box-office interest rolls out on Aug. 2 and that is Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

Summer blockbuster season typically ends around Labour Day but I notice that It: Chapter Two will be released the following weekend on Sept. 6, so that is going to do big business as well. Which goes to show you that blockbusters can happen any time of year, it doesn’t matter what the calendar says anymore.

The dates that I mentioned are the wide-release dates in North America. For dates and times for when these movies are screening in the Battlefords at the Capitol’s theatres, see www.rainbowcinemas.ca.  

Looking ahead, I foresee the domestic box office totals for the upcoming summer blockbusters roughly looking like this:

The Lion King –$440 million

Toy Story 4 –$380 million

Spider-Man:Far from Home –$330 million

Detective Pikachu –$320 million

Godzilla: Kings of the Monsters –$300 million

As for the haul for Avengers: Endgame, I wouldn’t be surprised if its domestic haul cracks a billion dollars by the time it is all over.

That is an unheard of amount of money, but entirely possible based on the early numbers. The big question is whether this movie will continue to do big business up against all the rest of these big-ticket releases that are coming soon.

We shall see what transpires. That is all for now.   

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