It’s said that the Oscars usually have higher ratings when there’s a clear front-runner, and a sense of inevitability with where the big awards go. It’s said that people like coronations, because you know what you’re getting. People just like to watch history unfold, I suppose, as opposed to enjoying something where anything could happen. That’s what the Marvel Comic Universe reminds me of at this point. It’s not that there’s no drama within the actual films – Avengers: Infinity War is a bonkers, high-death-count movie with huge plot stakes – but there was a sense of inevitability about the film being successful. Marvel knew that they had the Mother of All Superhero Films. They marketed it as such. They knew they were going to mint money off of this. And that’s exactly what happened:
Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War kicked off the summer box office in high style over the weekend, opening to a record-setting $250 million in North America and $380 million overseas for a global total of $630 million, the top worldwide debut of all time. The superhero mashup accomplished the feat without China, where it doesn’t unfurl until May 11.
Fellow Disney title Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) was the previous record holder for biggest domestic bow, while Universal’s The Fate of the Furious had held the record for biggest global start ($541.9 million).
Infinity War’s box-office victory was aided by the biggest Saturday of all time in North America ($83 million), as well as the biggest Sunday (an estimated $61 million), reflecting powerful word of mouth. The tentpole cost close to $300 million to produce before a major marketing spend.
Directed by the Russo brothers, Avengers: Infinity War is the most ambitious amassing of superheroes ever on the big screen and comes as Marvel Studios — led by Kevin Feige — celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2009, Walt Disney Co. chief Bob Iger paid $4 billion to acquire Marvel Entertainment, even though many of the superhero characters in Marvel’s stable were unproven.
“Marvel spent 10 years methodically and carefully creating a universe of characters, worlds and stories that all led to this and, in doing so, created an event unlike anything the business has ever seen,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis as he prepares to exit the top post and turn his job over to studio veteran Cathleen Taff.
Basically, Avengers fatigue won’t be setting in any time soon. The people want this kind of massive spectacle. They want superheroes. They want IronMan and Loki and Captain America and Black Panther. And they’ll be coming back for more with the second film, which comes out a year from now (May 3, 2019). I’m sure Infinity War Part 2 will break THIS record.
Photos courtesy of WENN.