Avengers: Infinity War set a new record for largest worldwide opening at the box office this weekend, but its figure would have been substantially higher if its Chinese premiere wasn't delayed. Over the years, Marvel Studios has become notorious for staggering their release dates around the globe, meaning different countries received their films at different times. For Infinity War, things were different. In an effort to combat the spread of spoilers, Marvel debuted their epic crossover in just about all parts of the world by the end of April. There were, however, a couple of notable exceptions. Chief among them was China, the ever-lucrative film market. Infinity War won't play there until May 11.
Missing out on the Chinese box office led us to believe Infinity War would not be able to best Fate of the Furious' all-time worldwide opening weekend record, but as it turned out, Marvel didn't need the Middle Kingdom at all. Infinity War completely annihilated the mark by grossing an astonishing $640.8 million globally. One has to wonder how much higher that number would have been if the movie was playing in China, and we've run some calculations to figure that out.
To establish a general floor for Infinity War's Chinese performance, we took a look at the previous eight Marvel Cinematic Universe installments (Black Panther dating back to Age of Ultron) and compared their opening weekends in China to their U.S. debuts. On average, the ratio between the grosses was roughly 53 percent. So if that holds true for Infinity War, it should earn about $136.8 million when it opens in China. When that figure is added to the $641 million, the worldwide total is raised to $777.8 million, which would be higher than the global totals of 10 other MCU films. Of course, given the circumstances of Infinity War, chances are the numbers will be much higher than that.
Marvel has made it clear that Infinity War isn't one of their typical blockbusters; it's a monumental cinematic event that they've spent 10 years building towards. Especially with the way the film rewrote the record books, we should expect it to be well above average when it finally makes its way to China. Our sample size saw a wide range of percentages, and there were some instances where there was a considerable gap (Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did much better business in the U.S.). In other cases, the difference was much closer. Age of Ultron debuted to the tune of $155.7 million in China, which was 81 percent of America's $191.2 million debut. If Infinity War lands in that range, we're looking at a $209.1 million start in China. That would have taken the worldwide total to about $850.1 million, nearly passing Thor: Ragnarok's $854 million haul. Granted, Marvel films have tapered off a bit in China since Ultron, but Infinity War is going to do better than most.
Infinity War is the first film since Star Wars: The Force Awakens to emerge as a legitimate challenger for Avatar's all-time worldwide record of $2.7 billion worldwide. With a 3x multiplier, Marvel's latest would hit the exclusive $2 billion club even without China's box office dollars. This is a juggernaut the likes of which we rarely see in Hollywood, and it'll be interesting to keep tabs on Infinity War's progress and see how high it'll ultimately go. It faces minimal competition until Deadpool 2 opens (and that sequel isn't playing in China), so Infinity War will be able to pad its numbers for a solid month.
- 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
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019