'Avengers: Endgame' assembles a $1.2 billion opening weekend at the box office

Marvel celebrates the biggest opening weekend and fastest $1 billion box-office grab in history

This image released by Disney shows, from left, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Karen Gillan, the character Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd and Scarlett Johansson in a scene from "Avengers: Endgame." (Disney/Marvel Studios via AP)
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Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame has smashed its own franchise's opening weekend box-office record, taking $1.24 billion (Dh4.5 billion) globally, according to Box Office Mojo.

That almost doubles the previous record, held by Avengers: Infinity War, of $640 million, helped in part by the fact that the latest film opened in China concurrently with the US, unlike its predecessor.

The film took $331 million over its five-day Chinese opening weekend, the biggest opening of any film in China ever, and only just short of its US haul of $357 million, although the film had a shorter, four-day opening in the States, with previews starting on Thursday as opposed to Wednesday in China.

Other global takings are yet to come in, but impressive hauls look set to come from the UK, where the film had already taken $27 million from Thursday previews when results were reported on Friday, and South Korea, where previews opened on Wednesday and $23 million had flowed through the tills by Friday. Other markets already reporting $10 million-plus takings by Friday included Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Mexico and the Philippines.

This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Dave Bautista, Chris Pratt and Pom Klementieff in a scene from "Avengers: Infinity War." (Marvel Studios via AP)
The Avengers also held the previous biggest opening weekend record with 'Infinity War'. Marvel Studios via AP

Endgame also became the first film to take more than $1 billion in its opening weekend. Infinity War was again the previous quickest here, taking 11 days to amass that amount. Third-placed Star Wars: The Force Awakens took a sluggish 12 days to achieve the same.

It’s hard to include older films in the comparisons, even when adjusted for inflation, since opening weekend data has only been collected since 2002. Prior to the turn of the century, “opening weekend” wasn’t such a big deal as huge global roll-outs have only become possible since digitisation allowed simultaneous global mass distribution and exhibition.

The logical next achievement would be for Endgame to surpass Avatar as the highest-grossing film ever. That would require about $2.8 billion worldwide and, having taken close to half of this in its opening weekend alone, it doesn't seem unrealistic to consider the possibility.

Endgame's opening weekend figures alone make it the 17th highest-grossing film of all time, and it hasn't even been in cinemas a full week yet. Cinemas are still reporting healthy advance ticket sales, and even with a typical 50 per cent drop-off in its second weekend, the movie would still be looking at a $600 million global haul. With all the hype around Endgame and hardcore fans sure to undertake repeat viewings, however, the second weekend drop rate could well be lower than the typical 50 per cent.

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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' took 12 days to clear $1 billion. 'Endgame' did the same on its opening weekend. Courtesy of Lucasfilm 

That could also see Endgame snatch another record from Avatar: the fastest film to clear $2 billion globally. Avatar took 47 days to cross that line. A strong second weekend could see Endgame canter home in around a quarter of that.

The next milestone would be to pass Avatar's adjusted-for-inflation total of $3.3 billion, since that film is 10 years old. It's impressive that Avatar has held on to its top spot even without adjusting for inflation for so long, given the box-office rampages regularly undertaken by the likes of the Star Wars, Fast and Furious and Marvel franchises.

To pass its adjusted total would be an impressive mountain for Endgame to climb, and at this moment you'd have to say it looks to be in with a good chance.

That would still leave one record for Endgame to snatch – the title of highest-grossing film of all time, adjusted for inflation. This title isn't held by Avatar, but by the 1939 epic romance Gone with the Wind. Given that the film is 80 years old, there are a number of estimates of its adjusted gross due to changing methods of calculation and interpreting historical data, ranging right up to $3.8 billion.

For our purposes, we'll take the Guinness Book of World Records figure of $3.4 billion, since they're the ones who would be awarding the title to a new challenger. It's a huge figure, and a record that has stood for so long many have assumed it will never be broken. If any film can match it, Endgame is surely the one.