Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” has launched with a massive $39 million in Thursday night preview showings.
It’s the fourth-highest preview total in history, trailing only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2.”
“Avengers: Infinity War” opens Friday in 4,474 theaters — the widest release for a Disney title ever and second only to “Despicable Me 3” at 4,529. It’s forecast to open between $225 million and $245 million, with a possibility of crossing the $250 million mark. The hefty launch should go a long way to justify its reported $300 million-plus price tag.
As of now, the biggest opening weekend of all time belongs to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which bowed with $248 million in 2015 and went on to make over $936.6 million domestically. Only five films in history have hit the $200 million mark in their debuts.
“Infinity War” picks up two years after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” with the Avengers teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop the evil Thanos from inter-galactic dominance. The star-studded cast includes Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk.
Joe and Anthony Russo directed from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. “Infinity War” is the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The original “Avengers” had the highest opening to date for a Marvel film, debuting with $207.4 million in 2012. Its sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” launched with $191 million. The first movie earned $623 million in North America, while the second made $459 million.
“Infinity War” arrives two months and two weeks after Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” opened to a sensational $202 million domestically. “Black Panther” has topped $683 million in North America to become the third-highest domestic grosser of all time, behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avatar.”
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said it’s not surprising that “Infinity War” should dominate.
“‘Infinity War’ is an irreirresistible confection, a pure popcorn movie that boasts an unprecedented level of concentrated superhero star power that will deliver massive and enthusiastic crowds to multiplexes around the world and prove once again that the power and allure of the communal and immersive movie theater experience for which a film like this is tailor made, remains undeniable,” he added.
A trio of holdovers will be in a battle for second place at about $10 million each — the fourth weekend of John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place,” the second weekend of Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty,” and the third weekend of Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage.”
“Black Panther” has generated nearly 20% of 2018’s overall domestic business of $3.52 billion, as of April 25. That figure is down 2.8% over the same period in 2017, according to comScore.