Biggest Thursday preview grosses:
Avengers: Infinity War earned $39 million in Thursday previews last year, which was second only to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ $57 million Thursday gross and Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s $45 million Thursday gross. While it may be a close call, I don’t necessarily expect Endgame to best this specific record. The MCU has never banked on massive preview screenings, earning its success via being a general audience attraction that is as appealing to the “Gee, let’s see a movie tonight!” crowd as the hardcore fan base. But I do expect Infinity War’s $39 million Thursday preview gross to be topped, giving it the biggest MCU preview gross ever.
Biggest “pure Friday” gross:
Despite several bigger opening weekend figures and not coming close to the opening day/Friday record, Jurassic World still holds the record for the second-biggest “pure Friday” gross, with $63.2 million sans its $18.5m Thursday preview figures. Avengers: Infinity War finally topped that figure last year with a $39 million Thursday gross and a $106 million Friday gross, translating into a $67 million “pure Friday” gross. I expect a similar result this time around, although it’s possible that the opening day could be more Thursday-slanted this time out. After last year, I’d be a little surprised if this record doesn’t fall, even if the overall Friday may or may not top the $119 million opening day gross of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Biggest opening day/biggest Friday gross:
Counting its $57 million in Thursday previews, Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned a colossal $119.119 million on its first day in domestic release. The next biggest days are Avengers: Infinity War ($106 million), The Last Jedi ($105 million), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($91 million), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($84 million), Jurassic World ($82 million) and The Avengers ($80 million). I’d argue that Endgame is sure to end up among the top two or three (at worst) biggest opening day numbers of all time. A 13% jump from Infinity War’s $106 million Friday gets it to $120 million, which is good for the (unadjusted) record.
Biggest Saturday gross:
Since the last three Star Wars movies were a bit frontloaded on their opening weekends, with around 2x their Friday grosses, the biggest Saturday grosses belong to Avengers: Infinity War ($82 million), Jurassic World ($69.6 million) and The Avengers ($69.5 million). Most of those films (along with Black Panther) dropped just 13-15% from Friday to Saturday, while The Force Awakens and Age of Ultron dropped 33-42% from their opening day grosses. Infinity War is the outlier, with a 23% drop from Friday to Saturday. So, to catch this record, Endgame will either must vastly outperform The Force Awakens on Friday or merely get close but fall less on the second day. Both are possible.
Biggest Sunday gross:
The three biggest Sunday grosses are Avengers: Infinity War ($69.2 million), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($60.553 million) and Black Panther ($60.067 million). The Force Awakens and Age of Ultron dropped 11% on Sunday from Saturday, while Black Panther fell just 9%. Both films benefited from the next Monday being a holiday. Infinity War didn’t have that advantage, but its 16% Saturday-to-Sunday drop was about in line with the 18% drops of The Avengers (early May) and Jurassic World (mid-June). The key to The Avengers’ huge success was that it was so buzzy and well-liked that it legged it like a mid-summer release while school was still in session. Infinity War played closer to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in terms of multipliers, and the deluge of post-debut competition may blunt Endgame’s legs. But if it opens big enough, that may be mere trivia.
Biggest opening weekend:
Here’s the grand prize: Can Avengers: Endgame surpass the $258 million opening weekend of Avengers: Infinity War? That would also put it just over the inflation-adjusted $257m debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million in 2015). Up until 2015, the MCU summer kick-off movies pulled consistent over/under 2.5x multipliers, but Age of Ultron (2.27x), Captain America: Civil War (2.38x) were frontloaded while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2.61x) got things back to normal. Infinity War pulled a decent 2.43x multiplier from its $106 million Friday. For the record, if it only breaks the various above records by a little bit, then we’re looking at a $58 million Thursday, a $126 million Friday (which would be a $68 million “pure Friday), an $83 million Saturday and a $70 million Sunday. That would be a debut weekend of around $279 million.
Biggest worldwide debut weekend:
Like Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame is opening this Friday in North America instead of next Friday. Aside from giving the MCU flick more space between itself and both Detective Pikachu (May 10) and Aladdin (May 24), Walt Disney wants the global debut record again. With China now opening this weekend along with the rest of the world, they are all-but-guaranteed to get it.
As of now, the four $500 million+ worldwide openings are Walt Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War ($649 million), Universal/Comcast Corp.’s Fate of the Furious ($542 million), Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($529 million) and Universal’s Jurassic World ($525 million). With China now opening alongside the rest of the world this time (Infinity War opened with $191 million last year) and set to earn potentially ridiculous numbers (it’s tracking at around $253 million in China and might out-open Baahubali 2 in India) globally. If it makes identical figures around the world (including China) as Avengers 3, we’re looking at an $830 million global debut for Avengers 4.
Yes, it could go a lot higher, like over $900 million, but we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. For the record, Infinity War earned around 2.4645x its global launch ($2.048 billion). For the “Hey, it could top Avatar!” folks, it would have to maintain that multiplier despite potentially brutal competition with a global launch of at least $1.132 billion this weekend. Titanic’s second-place slot ($2.1 billion, counting the reissues) may be in peril, but I don’t think the gold medal is. Let’s see if it can top $1 billion this weekend and then we’ll talk about odds of it taking the grand prize. Besides, if Endgame snatches the top-grosser title from James Cameron, he’s just going to steal it right back with Avatar 2 next year.