Avengers: Infinity War will undoubtedly be one of the biggest films of 2018, but odds are it will not break one of the all-time opening weekend records. At long last, the cinematic event Marvel Studios has spent 10 years and 18 movies building to is upon us, and many are curious to see just how high its box office numbers go. There was a point in time where some (including us) wondered if it would be able to top the figures posted by the phenomenon that was Black Panther, but now it looks like that showdown won't be a close contest. The most recent projections to come out this week have it pegged for anywhere between $216-235 million domestically, which would pass Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the second-highest debut of all-time. Some feel there's an outside chance Infinity War could even beat The Force Awakens' mark of $247.9 million.
Of course, Marvel finds success in several other countries besides America. Their films are juggernauts around the world, as illustrated by Black Panther becoming the latest member of the $1 billion club. Seeing that the previous two Avengers films (plus de facto Avengers movie Captain America: Civil War) hit the figure, Infinity War is all but guaranteed to cross that threshold as well. But after Black Panther rewrote all of the history books during its dominating run, Infinity War may find itself looking up at a couple of films on the charts when the weekend is through.
Infinity War's Domestic Projections
As indicated above, the all-time record for an opening weekend in the U.S. is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was an unprecedented release that will likely never be topped. Episode VII was the first new Star Wars installment in 10 years, arriving shortly after Disney's surprise acquisition of Lucasfilm. The hype for that movie was through the roof, and when word-of-mouth confirmed it (mostly) lived up to those sky-high expectations, Force Awakens was able to claim those #1 positions, eventually grossing an astonishing $936.6 million domestically. Infinity War will not be able to top Star Wars 7's total gross, but the conditions of its debut are the closest we've seen to Force Awakens in the three years since. Marketing has made it clear this isn't your "typical" Marvel movie.
Fortunately, Infinity War was able to continue Marvel's impressive string of consecutive Certified Fresh offerings, earning praise for its ambition and emotional storyline. Admittedly, some of the responses are more mixed than some recent MCU outings (read our review), but most everyone is in agreement Infinity War is a good movie. Not that this particular project needed the positive words of critics to sell tickets, but it never hurts to be riding waves of encouraging buzz into theaters. Movies that break box office records always appeal to four quadrants, and Infinity War's reviews certainly help in this regard. More casual viewers who weren't impatiently counting down the days to Thanos' arrival may be more inclined to brave the opening weekend crowds to see what all the fuss is about (as opposed to waiting until the dust settles), knowing that in all likelihood, it'll be money well-spent.
One interesting thing to keep an eye on is the novelty factor. Infinity War sports one of the largest ensembles in film history, but this isn't the first time we've seen superheroes from multiple properties crossover in a single movie. The childlike thrill of witnessing that watershed history was a key selling point of the first Avengers, which opened with $207.4 million domestically. That haul was not reached by the ensuing MCU team-up films; Age of Ultron debuted to the tune of $191.2 million, while Civil War made $179.1 million in its first three days. Ironically, the larger the cast, the smaller (relatively speaking, of course) the box office was. Granted, Infinity War pulls from all corners of the MCU and delivers the Mad Titan after six years of build-up, but there's still no changing this is Marvel's fourth team-up picture. Infinity War is also the 19th overall entry in the MCU released since 2008, whereas Force Awakens came out after the marketplace had been starved for new content from the galaxy far, far away.
Offsetting that novelty argument, however, is the way Marvel has billed Infinity War. They've been pushing the fact that this is the culmination of the entire MCU to date, serving as the final chapter of a book before the franchise moves to a new era. Even though there will be a fourth Avengers film a year from now, this is still an exciting prospect. Audiences have known Infinity War is Marvel's endgame since it was announced back in 2014, and everyone is curious to see how exactly they pulled it off. When compared to the last few Phase 3 films (including Black Panther), Infinity War feels like a proper event due to the sheer scope of it. A tentpole like this is also in high demand after a quiet March and April saw few new movies breakout. Chances are, Infinity War will score the MCU's highest opening weekend, but it'll fall short of matching Force Awakens if only because no Marvel movie has even come close to $247 million.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019