5 Ways to Prep - Avengers: Endgame
By George Rose
April 24, 2019
Remember when we thought Avengers: Infinity War would be the biggest Marvel movie ever? Oh, the hype. While it had the largest opening weekend of all time with $258 million, it failed to leg it out past Black Panther’s $700 million total with “only” $679 million. Sure, worldwide totals had Avengers easily destroying Black Panther but the damage had already been done. Well, Endgame is finally here and Marvel is about to right some wrongs.
Online reports suggest that Endgame’s ticket presales are five-times higher than Infinity War and more than the next four biggest films combined. So we’re pretty certain that Infinity War’s opening weekend record will fall. Online chatter also suggests that since Infinity War ended with a cliffhanger it will likely have weaker legs than a closing chapter like Endgame. This implies that Black Panther’s $700 million total will also fall. A few brave analysts also suggest an outside shot at Endgame being the first to earn over $1 billion worldwide on opening weekend. There’s a lot of talk and a lot of hype, and the box office has never been more volatile. Anything is possible and only one thing is certain: I am 100% on this hype train.
Biggest weekend ever! $1 billion global debut! $2.8 billion worldwide total that finally takes down Avatar! Unadjusted for inflation, of course, but who cares?! ENDGAME IS HERE!!! When AMC Theaters had their website crash on the opening day of ticket presales, I was among the angry crowd waiting at the theater ticket counter at 10:30am. I have taken off from work Thursday, April 25 so I could be emotionally prepared for the sneak preview. And I am not alone. It’s all anyone is talking about, except for minor breaks to discuss Game of Thrones. Coworkers with scattered showtimes over the weekend have agreed upon a spoiler-free environment until all parties are caught up. Fights are breaking out over fan theories. Anxiety is at an all time high. Will the dusted Avengers return? Will Thanos be defeated? Or, as my placed bets will show, I am of the belief that Thanos comes across Captain Planet’s heart stone and becomes good, ultimately joining the Avengers after his regretful murder of Iron Man and Captain America. Anything is possible!!!
This isn’t just a hype train; this is closer to being a Snowpiercer, like the one in that Chris Evans movie. People live and die on this train. All hands are in and all bets are off. The Endgame is here and we ride or die together. Without further adieu, here are the 5 Ways to Prep for the grand Avengers finale.
1) AVENGERS 1, 2 & 3
Usually I recommend only five movies and they aren’t from the same franchise. Well, Thanos snapped his fingers and killed half our friends so we're gonna have to break some rules to take down this threat. There are over 20 films in the MCU and you’ve either watched them all already in preparation or you haven’t. If you haven’t, you’re going to need a cram session. If you only have time for a few movies before Endgame, it makes the most sense that you’d watch at least the three Avenger films before it.
MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS: A handful of enhanced humans (Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk), a mighty alien god (Thor), and a few spies (Black Widow and Hawkeye) are brought together by the head of a secret agency (Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D.) to stop an intergalactic invasion led by Thor’s adopted brother Loki,even though he’s really working for the bigger threat that is Thanos who is hiding in the shadows. The Avengers win and Loki is taken back to Thor’s home planet of Asgard, while the rest of the team stays behind to protect Earth.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: It doesn’t take too long for the Avengers to get tired of protecting the planet so Iron Man sets out to create a coat of armor for the world. By using the power source at the center of Loki’s staff from the first movie, he and the Hulk work together to make the artificial intelligence known as Ultron. When does AI ever work? Never. Ultron goes crazy and tries to drop a fake asteroid down on everyone but the Avengers stop him. Before and while this is going on, two more enhanced humans are made by the bad guys (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) but they join the Avengers later one, and also the Avengers take the stone from Loki’s staff and make another AI machine (Vision) but this one stays good because they keep the stone in his forehead. Quicksilver dies, the Avengers learn that winning against a villain they created isn’t really winning, and this freshly made family starts to unravel.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR: Despite a recent team breakup, the heroes of the world unite to stop Thanos, the mad titan who has been hunting for six Infinity Stones that possess an unlimited power capable of wiping out half of the galaxy with the snap of two fingers. New Avenger friends like Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy help turn the once tiny band of enhanced humans into an army of superheroes. Thanos collects the stones, the Avengers are spread thin around the universe trying to stop him and then… Thanos wins?! Half of the universe is gone, dusted away, and Thanos escapes while the remaining Avengers (the original six plus a few) look around in disbelief and defeat. Ooooohhhhhhh SNAP!
2) CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
If you find that you have time for at least one more non-Avenger MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) feature, the single most important movie is Civil War. There’s Avenger team-up movies and individual solo-features, but a few other MCU movies also showcase an important cameo or co-star. Then there’s Civil War, which was dubbed a Captain America movie but is really Avengers 2.5. This is when the fallout from Age of Ultron takes hold and rips the team in half. The United Nations is asking superheroes to register themselves and work with those governments to stop threats together, while the heroes that oppose that idea think this political nonsense will waste time in stopping trouble that the Avengers are smart enough to determine on their own. Iron Man and insurance agencies are on the side of the government, while Captain America disagrees because his friend the Winter Soldier is being framed for killing the Black Panther’s father and the governments want to shoot him on site despite Captain believing him to be innocent. Oh, the conflict.
Well, friends have a way of working things out and by the end Iron Man, Captain America, Winter Soldier and Black Panther discover the truth and find the man behind the scenes who started this confusion in the first place. Unfortunately, this regular man lost his family from the devastation caused in Age of Ultron so we kind of sympathize with him. Also, we later learn that even though Winter Soldier was framed for killing Black Panther’s dad, he did in fact kill… IRON MAN’S PARENTS. It was 20+ years ago and Winter Soldier was brainwashed, but Iron Man is impulsive and emotional and this is the final straw. Iron Man and Captain America divide the team, with Winter Soldier going back to Black Panther’s hidden country of Wakanda to get treatment for his mental abuse. What was once just a collection of superheroes movies that occasionally cross paths is now officially a full blown dramatic soap opera.
While Avengers: Infinity War brought some heroes back together, others still haven’t resolved some of these Civil War issues. Iron Man and Captain America didn’t reunite in Infinity War and their reconciliation is a critical plot point of Endgame. In the trailers, you can see Iron Man ask Captain America if he trusts him. Captain says yes and this moment will be heightened for fans reminded of the divide so many movies ago. The more you remember that divide, the better the reunion and reconciliation; the more we care about their fixed bro-mance, the more your hearts will be broken when we WATCH THEM DIE!!! That’s not a spoiler, that’s a prediction. Contracts are up and most people say Iron Man and Captain America are due for their departures. If they do, you’ll want to be part of the audience sobbing in unison when this shit hits the fan. Civil War will certainly go a long way in helping you share all the feels that the world is about to go through this weekend.
3) A FEW MORE BIG MCU MOMENTS: CAPTAIN MARVEL, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP & BLACK PANTHER
So you’ve got three Avengers movies and one Civil War that best help summarize the overall MCU experience. Though it’s not as important to watch them in advance, there are three more movies worth discussing. If you’ve seen Infinity War, the only character that isn’t in that movie that does later appear in Endgame is Captain Marvel. She’s rumored to be the most powerful of the superheroes and will be one of the most important parts in taking down Thanos. The problem in watching this origin story is that it’s still in theaters. If you find yourself without Endgame tickets due to massive sell outs, maybe you should catch up on the newest MCU Captain. After her 1990’s set feature, she went across the galaxy to help other planets. Her return to the MCU in Endgame is also her grand return to Earth after 20+ years. Where has she been? Why hasn’t she aged? And what good are those answers in Endgame without the questions made from Captain Marvel?
There’s also Ant-Man and the Wasp, the first post-Infinity War flick. Ant-Man has been under house arrest since Civil War and skipped out of Infinity War. It’s not so important to watch this movie to see where he’s been that whole time but, more importantly, where he ends up. Before his friends get dusted during the post-credit scene, Ant-Man shrinks down to the quantum realm and gets trapped there. How long is he down there? Who helps him get out? Is the quantum realm connected to the Soul or Space Stone? Is the energy he was trying to contain down there going to help in defeating Thanos? We know from Endgame trailers that Ant-Man returns to normal size and rejoins the team, but there’s a lot of ground to cover between where we left him off and how he meets back up with his teammates.
And less importantly about story and more about the money is Black Panther. We still care about this movie because despite “only” making $1.35 billion worldwide compared to Infinity War’s $2 billion, it’s $700 million domestic still puts War’s $679 million to shame. If analyst expect Endgame to earn more than Infinity War on opening weekend (and they do) and they also expect it to last longer in theaters than Infinity War since that movie was a cliffhanger (and they do), there’s no reason to expect Endgame won’t cover that $21 million gap and become the biggest MCU movie for all time. Beyond that, there’s only a few more hurdles to take down and only a few weeks before we’ll see if Endgame can rule the box Office universe.
4) THE BIGGEST COMPETITION: AVATAR, TITANIC & STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
With Black Panther’s $700 million domestic total about to crumble beneath Endgame, we can start to wonder what else is left beyond that benchmark. Only three films have bragging rights left to destroy and Thanos has his sights set to take down one or two of them. If it can land the hat trick then we have a new Hollywood titan to rule the box office. Keep in mind, Infinity War made $258 million on opening weekend, $679 million domestic total and $2.048 billion worldwide. Let’s check out the competition.
TITANIC (with re-releases): $659 million domestic and $2.187 billion worldwide
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: $937 million domestic and $2.068 billion worldwide
AVATAR: $761 million domestic and $2.788 billion worldwide.
Like I said before, analysts expect Endgame to open higher and earn more than Infinity War, with Black Panther’s $700 million total a minimum expected total for a Endgame. Well, if Endgame can earn that $21 million difference than it doesn’t just take down Black Panther’s domestic total but also Star Wars’ $2.068 billion worldwide earnings. That leaves just two more domestic threats and two more worldwide ones.
Endgame needs just a touch over 10% more than Infinity War to then also leap over Avatar’s $761 million domestic total and Titanic’s $2.187 billion. 10% doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for a franchise-ending mega sequel. Then again, how much room is there to grow from Infinity War? After 20 films, it’s safe to say the fan base is pretty set in stone. Has anyone just joined the MCU bandwagon in the last year? The real trick to getting that +10% is on repeat viewings. Well last year I wasn’t an AMC A-List member with almost unlimited viewing potential for $22 a month. Now I am and you can bet your sweet little buttcheeks that I’ll be watching Endgame in the biggest screens possible, as many times as possible, for as long as the film is in theaters. Or until Detective Pikachu comes out. Regardless, I’ve got repeat viewings planned and I imagine I’m not alone. That leaves only two other box office records left.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t likely to lose its $937 million domestic record. I mean, that would require a nearly 40% jump from Infinity War and that’s just insanity. Then again, if it can do that then the worldwide record is also in jeopardy. Avatar is still sitting pretty with almost $2.8 billion which would require Endgame to also jump up 40%. That also seems crazy, two records both 40% away. After the dust settles, I imagine all three major records remain the same… ish. Endgame will replace Infinity War for opening weekend, and hopefully tops Avatar’s $761 million domestic and Titanic’s $2.187 billion worldwide totals, but will fall short of Star Wars $938 million domestic and Avatars 2.788 billion worldwide amounts. It will become #2 in both those fields but will share in possessing only one of those three records with two of the other biggest franchises. Not a bad way to end the longest running cinematic universe in history.
5) FRANCHISE-ENDING TWO-PARTERS: TWILIGHT, HUNGER GAMES AND HARRY POTTER
There’s are plenty of trilogies, a growing number of extended franchises and even a couple of cinematic universes of interconnecting franchises out there, but there are only a select few stories that end with two-parters. The ones that come to mind are Twilight, Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Twilight turned four books into five films, Hunger Games went from three books to four films and Harry Potter grew from seven books to eight films. Volume-wise, Potter is closest in comparison but still less than half the number of movies in the MCU. Still, let’s look at some numbers.
TWILIGHT 4: $281 million domestic and $712 million worldwide
TWILIGHT 4.5: $292 million domestic (+4%) and $830 million worldwide (+17%)
HUNGER GAMES 3: $337 million domestic and $755 million worldwide
HUNGER GAMES 3.5: $282 million domestic (-16%) and $653 million worldwide (-14%)
HARRY POTTER 7: $296 million domestic and $960 million worldwide
HARRY POTTER 7.5: $381million domestic (+29%) and $1.34 billion worldwide (+40%)
So one series ended low (Hunger Games), one ended about the same (Twilight) and one ended higher (Harry Potter). Potter was the first to try splitting the end up and it worked. Twilight was next and it neither helped nor hurt. Hunger Games was last and the fad had already worn out. That being said, while we can all agree that Endgame will open higher than Infinity War, the “extended run because it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger” theory may not apply. Only one franchise really ended higher as a result so that’s hardly a time-tested guarantee. The good news is that Harry Potter does still prove that a massive +40% bump is possible which means, holy Jesus, Endgame could somehow top Avatar’s total and the MCU ends with a $2.8 billion record holder. And, if the one true God really cared about setting records and breaking benchmarks, then a completely crazy +50% bump gives us our first $1 billion domestic earner and $3 billion global juggernaut. That seems like too much to ask but I don’t put anything past MCU fans.
The numbers of the past only show us what is theoretically possible for the future. With the box office as unpredictable as ever and the uncharted nature of this MCU mega beast, it’s important to repeat how anything is possible with Endgame. Some are calling for the first $300+ million domestic opening with a tiny outside shot at a $1 billion global debut. If that happens, then Star Wars and Avatar better start shaking in their boots. Infinity War’s global opening was $640 million, which jumps to $840 million when you add China’s opening a few weeks later. With Endgame, China joins the opening weekend fold which means we need +20% growth.
So to wrap things up, we need 10% growth to take down Black Panther and Avatar’s domestic totals, and Titanic’s $2.19 billion worldwide amount for #2 on that chart; +20% to be the first to open with $300 million domestic and $1 billion worldwide; +40% to beat Star Wars $937 million domestic record and Avatar for biggest worldwide hit with $2.8 billion; and +50% to be the first $1 billion domestic earner and $3 billion worldwide earner. We are only days away from getting an idea of what’s to come and weeks away from seeing how history gets rewritten. I’ve never been a more excited movie lover or a more proud nerd to have been a Marvel fan for my entire life. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for and I thank you all for doing your part in helping this once “dying genre” to become the super powerhouse that saved an industry. Thank you Stan Lee, thank you Kevin Feige and thank you Disney for pulling this off. And thank you Avengers for saving the world this one last time. Enjoy the show everyone and, remember, don’t spoil the story for anyone until everyone has had a chance to see the movie. The way things are looking, that won’t be asking you to wait long at all!