Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
April 27, 2019
Everything is different now. After a year where we've had mostly blah box office (exceptions including Captain Marvel, Us, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Shazam!, and The Curse of La Llorona), the MCU has come along (again) to prove that audiences will go to theaters for the right movie - even if that product is more than three hours long.
Avengers: Endgame got started on Thursday with $60 million in preview money. That total is a record. (By the way, get ready to hear that a lot with regards to Endgame. It's going to set them all, and there's a good chance that the records they set will stand for a very long time.) It exceeds the Thursday preview totals of Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($57 millions), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($43.5 million), and Avengers: Infinity War ($39 million, and the previous top Thursday night earner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
When we roll that number into Friday earnings, we get a nearly impossible total of $156.7 million. That is the top grossing single day by... a lot. The movie that now sits in second place is once again Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned $119.1 million on its first day. It is $50 million ahead of what last year's Infinity War earned. It's the fastest movie ever to $100 million. And oh, by the way, Avengers: Endgame has also earned $487 million overseas so far. Adding that $156.7 million domestic and $487 million international together gives us $643.7 million - obviously a single day record for worldwide box office.
With regard to the overall weekend, we actually have a pretty easy baseline comparison. Avengers: Infinity War opened at almost exactly the same time one year ago. It's possible that Endgame is more frontloaded than that one, but I'm not sure that's really the case. Not only are reviews rapturous (96 percent fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), but word-of-mouth is also crazy good (A+ Cinemascore, 9.2/10 at IMDb). Even though the movie is three hours long, I'd willingly sit through it again - and want to. It's more than a superhero film. It's a fantastic story that completes numerous character arcs in a satisfying way.
So, one year ago, Avengers: Infinity War had a Friday box office total of $106.3 million. Remember that $39 million of that came from Thursday night previews, which gives Infinity War a "true" Friday take of $67.3 million. For the entire weekend, Infinity War earned $257.7 million - the current record for opening weekend. Again, subtract out the $39 million from that amount for a "true" weekend total of $218.7. Divide the $67.3 million Friday into the $218.7 million weekend and you get a Friday-to-Sunday multiplier of 3.25. Whoa is the word you are looking for here.
Let's perform the same math with Endgame. To get our "true" Friday number, we'll subtract the $60 million Thursday night preview totals from the $156.7 overall number. That gives us $96.7 as our "true" Friday box office number. Multiply $96.7 by 3.25, and you get $314.3 million. Add in the $60 million from Thursday, and we'd be looking at a weekend total of $374.3 million.
Now, I think it's going to come in a little lower than that. If I take the multiplier down to a 3, we get a "true" weekend total of $290.1 million. Add the $60 million back to it and we'd have $350.1 million. Disney is often conservative, but I could see this one going as high as $360 million. For now, I'll call it $355 million and an opening weekend that is unlikely to be matched for some time. I don't even think the Star Wars finale in December will manage it.
Yes, that means we'll see the opening weekend record broken by as much as $100 million. I don't have enough superlatives to describe this performance. Oh, wait. Endgame will also likely have a worldwide debut of $1 billion and more. Avatar is currently the number one film worldwide with $2.79 billion. Endgame should beat it unless something goes wrong. I see repeat showings and viewings galore in the weeks to come.
I'll close out with a final few "whoa" stats. Out of the ten biggest opening weekends, six of them will belong to Marvel after tomorrow - here's a rundown:
1. Avengers: Endgame
2. Avengers Infinity War
3. Marvel's The Avengers
4. Black Panther
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron
6. Captain America: Civil War
Avengers alone has three of the top six opening weekends ever, and four of the top eight.
Also, Disney already had nine of the top ten opening weekends ever, and it will of course hang onto that same stat. It'll have 11 of the top 15, with the other franchises claiming a spot including Jurassic World, Harry Potter, and Batman-Superman/The Dark Knight. That'll probably go even higher with Star Wars later this year, and I wouldn't rule out The Lion King and Toy Story 4 knocking the Batman/Dark Knight films out of the top 15.
Disney is everything.
Want more proof of that statement? Captain Marvel, a film that opened back on March 7th, will finish in second place this weekend. The Marvel excitement is EVERYWHERE, and whether people went to see Captain Marvel as an appetizer for Endgame or a substitute when shows were sold out, it's still going to manage about $9-10 million.
Be sure to come back tomorrow, as we'll have final weekend results.