Apr 28, 2019

Disney’s "Avengers: Endgame" smashes box office records

Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Disney Studios

Disney continues to take theaters by storm. The company's 3-hour-long presentation of Marvel’s "Avengers: Endgame" has obliterated box office records, bringing in a whopping $350 million in North America and $1.2 billion worldwide during its opening weekend.

Why it matters: No other movie has ever made this much money at the box office during its weekend opener. The 2nd-highest opening weekend for any film globally was Disney's 2018 presentation of Marvel's "Avengers: Infinity War," which brought in roughly half as much money at $640.5 million.

The Big Picture: The movie's success speaks to the critical role that theaters still play in cinema, despite the fact that more people are watching films through streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and soon-to-be Disney+.

“This weekend is the culmination of a decade of investments by theater owners in technology, comfort and convenience and a decade-long bet by Disney on the power of the moviegoing experience. This record-shattering weekend didn’t just happen in movie theaters; it happened because of movie theaters.”
— Patrick Corcoran, vice president and chief communications officer at the National Association of Theater Owners

Yes, but: It also speaks to the power of the popular franchises that Disney has carefully cultivated over the past few years. Five of the top 10 highest-grossing box office weekend openers belong to Disney-owned franchises, like Marvel and Star Wars. Disney has had the top-grossing global studio performance since 2016.

Be smart: As Axios' Felix Salmon notes, experts predict that "Endgame's" record haul will bring it near "cash breakeven" by Sunday, which is unprecedented for a super hero movie. This means that Disney will earn back the amount it needs to compensate debts for the film that have been laid out on a contractual basis. Only a handful of movies have achieved this milestone before.

Early data predicted that the movie would be a box office smash, receiving both critical claim and positive audience reviews.

  • The movie received a "96" out of 100 on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, and early viewer surveys suggested that audiences were delighted with the film.
  • According to Comscore’s PostTrak audience survey, out Thursday after previews aired in some markets, audiences gave “Endgame” a full 5 out of 5 stars with a massive 90 total positive score.

Between the lines: The film has awakened an otherwise sleepy start to the box office this year. Domestic box office revenue for the first 3 months of the year was at its lowest level in 6 years, according to Comscore numbers.

The bottom line: "Nearly every box-office record was broken by this juggernaut of a film from Thursday previews to single-day grosses and everything in between," says Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 721,584 — Total deaths: 33,958 — Total recoveries: 149,122.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 142,106 — Total deaths: 2,479 — Total recoveries: 2,686.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

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Trump says peak coronavirus deaths in 2 weeks, extends shutdown

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump is extending his administration's "15 days to slow the spread" shutdown guidelines for an additional month in the face of mounting coronavirus infections and deaths and pressure from public health officials and governors.

Driving the news: With the original 15-day period that was announced March 16 about to end, officials around the country had been bracing for a premature call to return to normalcy from a president who's been venting lately that the prescription for containing the virus could be worse than the impacts of the virus itself.

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