‘Avengers: Endgame’: Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are deeply woven into Richter’s identity. On Monday, Richter and girlfriend Lisa Lower were invited to the world premiere of “Endgame.” As they walked down the purple carpet packed with everyone from Chris Hemsworth to Brie Larson, Richter popped the question. Spoiler alert: she said yes.

While Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, and the surviving Avengers gear up to battle the marble-skinned baddie known as Thanos, superfans are bracing for what is expected to be the highest-grossing weekend in moviegoing history.

It would be an understatement to say anticipation for “Avengers: Endgame” is sky-high. Movie theater chains across the globe are struggling to keep with with demand, scrambling to add as many showtimes as possible for the superhero tentpole, which serves as an end of sorts to a sprawling 22-film franchise that started with 2008’s “Iron Man.” Fandango reported that over 4,000 “Avengers: Endgame” showtimes have sold out in North America, and the ticketing service is continuously posting new screens. Some theaters are staying open for 72 hours straight starting Thursday evening to ensure no dollar gets turned down. Some soon to be sleep-deprived moviegoers have even booked tickets to 2:30 a.m. screenings of the three-hour epic. They’re sacrificing a humane bedtime for bragging rights and the chance to see the film in its first weekend.

“We continue to add shows, and they continue to sell out,” said Brock Bagby, executive VP of B&B Theaters. “We put it on as many screens as we legally could due to studio contracts.”

B&B Theaters, the family-owned theater chain based in Missouri, has spent the last month prepping for “Endgame.”

“Our biggest fear is a projector goes down, and we can’t get it back up quick enough,” Bagby said. “It’s rare, but it does happen. In a normal weekend, you’d move auditoriums, but we can’t this weekend.”

Cinemas are leaning into Marvel fever. B&B Theaters unveiled a menu of themed drinks, including the Captain S.H.I.E.L.D., Star Whiskey Sour, Hulk Smash, and Thor’s Hammer, for those daring enough to test their bladder during a three-hour movie. “Those are always our No. 1 seller on a weekend like this because people want to be part of the experience,” Babgy said.

Other independent film houses with fewer screens and older infrastructure are battening down the hatches, and doing so joyously.

“With the running time of over three hours, our primary goal is to allow sufficient intermission time to give the exiting and incoming audiences a chance to park comfortably and get inside,” said Lance Alspaugh, the owner of iconic Vista Theater in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood. “We have our entire staff at the ready for the entire weekend with the movie running three times daily. We are all very excited.”

One of Vista’s secret weapons is community engagement. General manager Victor Martinez, a 31-year veteran of the theater, often dresses up as characters from popular films to greet moviegoers at the box office. This weekend is no exception — he’s suiting up in purple as nod to Thanos’ distinctive pigmentation.

There’s a reason exhibitors are going all in on “Endgame.” Box office analysts predict the film will enjoy a domestic opening weekend between $250 million and $268 million. Overseas, the Marvel juggernaut is already turbocharging the box office. In China, “Endgame” secured $100 million on its opening day. The film, which opens day and date across the globe, will easily surpass $800 million worldwide in its first weekend of release.

“Endgame” will be an emotional conclusion for many die-hard comic-book enthusiasts, according to Den of Geek‘s Mike Cecchini. Across the country, fans are finding each other on the community building website Meetup.com, looking to see “Endgame” and then head to a local bar or eatery to discuss the film. In Newport, Kentucky, almost 20 strangers are gathering for drinks before a 6 p.m. show at their local AMC. Similar events are lighting up everywhere from Memphis to Huntington Beach. Their enthusiasm is extending to exhibitors.

“Everybody’s shifted from consuming fan theories to preparing themselves emotionally,” said Cecchini. “This culmination of all these films has never been done, and I don’t think Marvel will ever be able to do this again.”

Adds Bagby, “Being a family-owned company, these are the moments we live for. We’re more excited than ever.”

More Film

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Pinocchio' for Disney (EXCLUSIVE)

    Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio.” Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. “Paddington” director Paul King had originally been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content