China, midnight Tuesday. That’s when Avengers: Endgame begins to rumble around the world, box office wise.
The film industry waits with bated breath for what should be a colossal opening. In some distribution hallways around town, people are talking a $300M domestic opening and a –gasp– $1 billion worldwide start. Mind-boggling. Even if the Anthony and Joe Russo-directed sequel misses that mark, some forecast that Endgame could make $1.5 billion through its first 10 days. With the exception of Russia, which releases on Monday April 29, Endgame will go out everywhere day-and-date internationally beginning Wednesday. U.S./Canada starts off at 6 PM on Thursday.
If Endgame is going to hit a $1 billion global weekend opening, what would need to happen as we understand is that China or the U.S. (or both) would need to overperform. $300M-plus apiece would be amazing, but should the U.S. hit $270M (and no less) and China overindexes to $310M, then a billion-dollar reach from Thanos and the Avengers by Sunday is possible. Grounded projections for China are in the range of $250M-$280M-plus.
Currently, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and I are hearing that $940M-$950M global is more in line with cooler heads’ global prognostications. Broken out, that’s $680M abroad — which would rep an international box office record, dusting 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, which bowed everywhere save Japan in mid-April that year, to $433.2M, unadjusted — and $260M-$270M in U.S./Canada, also an all-time record. Disney reports that Endgame will play on an industry-record 4,600 theaters coast to coast in U.S./Canada with screenings kicking off at 6 PM Thursday. Disney will have the full exhibition might of 3,900 3D venues, 250 D-Boxes, Dolby, 410 Imax and 785 PLFs, which is de rigueur for a Marvel movie.
Record presales are in full swing in the U.S./Canada, estimated to be north of $120M+, and even around the world: In India, online retailer BookMyShow reports that it sold a million tickets in just one day in advance of the pic’s April 26 opening in the country in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. That translated to 18 tickets sold a second.
Endgame presales in China broke records in a matter of hours and became the Middle Kingdom’s top preseller ever; not even a Chinese New Year title has crossed the 1M admission level that the Marvel film did in a matter of three hours. China presales hardly have slowed, with $80M now in the bank and $90M-plus expected. The midnight presales likely will come in around the $20M mark, topping all previous titles – including Furious 8’s $9.1M and Infinity War’s $8.9M midnights (at historic rates). We hear that initial showtimes for Endgame in metropolitan areas of China are going for anywhere between $60 to $150 a ticket.
In regard to the rest of the world selling out on Endgame, the Imax BFI in London, for example, has only a handful of seats left in the 4 AM and 8 AM slots over the first weekend. (Globally, Endgame, which was shot entirely with Imax cameras, will be on 1,400 screens in the format.) According to Applaudience, at least 175 midnight shows throughout the UK were sold out by local time this afternoon for Wednesday night, with hundreds more going fast. In Singapore, online ticketing platforms crashed when seats became available, and we hear advance bookings could set a record in India also.
Infinity War’s overseas opening last year was $360M at today’s rates and without China. Factor in the Middle Kingdom’s $190M adjusted, and that rises to $550M. The movie finaled at $1.37B overseas and $2.05B worldwide at unadjusted rates. It was the fastest movie ever to $1B worldwide, the fourth movie to cross $2B and is the No. 3 film of all time at the international box office behind Avatar and Titanic. Infinity War’s ultimate top offshore markets were China ($360M), the UK ($96.6M), Korea ($88.5M), Brazil ($66.7M) and Mexico ($60M), all at unadjusted rates.
If we comp Infinity War’s China presales of $65M to the rest of its opening weekend, they repped about 35% — which would point to around $300M for Endgame’s bow. But this is a tricky comp since it can’t be assumed that the advance ticket buyers on Endgame didn’t also see Infinity War during the first weekend, just without pre-buying.
While the 22nd pic in the MCU is getting a five-day launch in China, it has only one day of play where school and work are not a factor. Because the State Council has given companies and students an extended four-day break from May 1-4, those extra days off are being compensated by Sunday, April 28 (and Sunday, May 5) being work days. We have heard that sales are lower on the first Sunday versus the previous days. Historically, Furious 8 and Detective Chinatown 2 hold records for the first five days of a film in China at about $240M each. But it’s important to recall that F8 had a full weekend and DC2 opened during Chinese New Year.
Many offshore cinemas are programming through the night and doubling up on auditoriums, much like the world No. 1 exhibitor AMC is doing in the States, even keeping the lights on for 72 hours straight at some locations. Vue International’s presales are breaking records with almost four times more tickets sold through last week than on Infinity War, and 2% more than The Force Awakens at the same stage. Vue’s UK Westfield and Printworks cinemas are running 24-hour screenings; smaller sites are showing it every 30 minutes. In the Philippines, several malls are staying open 24 hours to accommodate screenings, while others are starting showings at 6 AM. In U.S./Canada, 450 theaters will run special fan event screenings at 5 PM Thursday. Additionally, 12 theaters in major markets will run 22-film MCU Marathons (kicking off Tuesday morning), leading into the Thursday 5 PM showing of Endgame.
Endgame makes its world premiere tonight in Los Angeles (you can watch the livestream here), and the social media embargo lifts at 10 PM PST. The global review embargo lifts at 3 PM PST Tuesday, so we’ll see what the Rotten Tomatoes score is then.
Disney’s MCU counts 21 films released to date, which have amassed $18.6B worldwide (an average of $885M a film). The Avengers series (Avengers, Age of Ultron, Infinity War) has a combined global gross of nearly $5B (average of $1.66B per).
International release breakdown is as follows:
Wednesday, April 24: France, Germany, Italy, Australia, China, Korea, as well as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Lebanon, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand
Thursday, April 25: UK, Brazil, as well as Croatia, Czech Rep, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, Argentina, Panama, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia
Friday, April 26: Spain, Japan, Mexico, as well as South Africa, India, Vietnam, Venezuela and Ecuador