Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” is heading for a massive $225 million in its opening weekend in North America, early estimates showed Friday.
Should estimates hold, it will be the second-largest domestic launch weekend ever, trailing only the $248 million opening for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015 but finishing ahead of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at $220 million.
The superhero saga launched with $39 million in Thursday night previews — 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.” That number is included in the opening day total, which was heading for the $95 million to $100 million range.
“Avengers: Infinity War” opened Friday in 4,474 North American venues in the second-widest domestic release ever, behind only “Despicable Me 3” at 4,529 locations. It’s been forecast to open between $225 million and $245 million, with a possibility of crossing the $250 million mark.
“Infinity War” has also been performing strongly in overseas markets with $95 million in its first two days from 43 territories. The hefty launches should go a long way to justify its reported $300 million-plus price tag.
“Avengers: Infinity War” appears certain to become the sixth film in history to top the $200 million mark in their domestic debut weekends, joining “The Force Awakens,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Jurassic World,” “The Avengers” and “Black Panther.”
“Infinity War” has a relatively lengthy run time of two hours and 36 minutes, which limits the number of showings each day. The story 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 massive 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.
“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.”
A trio of holdovers will be in a battle for second place with the fourth weekend of John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” likely to take in the best number at about $12 million. The second weekend of Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty” and the third weekend of Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage” should finish with about $10 million each.
“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. That gap should be closed somewhat this weekend, as the same frame last year generated a moderate $100.9 million, led by $19.9 million for the third session of “Fate of the Furious.”