Disney’s Marvel Studios has become a seemingly unstoppable powerhouse.
Since “Iron Man” in 2010, Marvel has deftly woven dozens of characters into its cinematic universe.
All of that skillful work culminated in the grandiose film “The Avengers: Infinity War,” and the movie has outstripped virtually all projections.
While comic arch-rival DC and Warner Bros. futz around without a coherent plan, Marvel’s Kevin Feige has spent a decade spearheading an epic creative endeavor.
Expectations were sky-high for “Infinity War,” and the film delivered in a big way; Marvel’s gigantic team-up movie now owns the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time.
The Avengers battled their way to global box office domination this weekend.
Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” made an estimated $630 million at the worldwide box office for its opening weekend, according to Disney (DIS). That shatters the record for biggest worldwide opening held by Universal’s “The Fate of the Furious,” which made $541 million for its global opening last year.
“Infinity War” also brought in an estimated $250 million domestically this weekend. That makes it the biggest opening weekend ever, edging out the $248 million that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” made in 2015.
Disney now holds 9 of the top 10 biggest openings in North American history.
Most impressively, “Infinity War” nabbed the global record without the help of China, the world’s second biggest movie market. The film opens there on May 11.
“Disney masterfully combined all of the separate elements of the Marvel brand and brought them together in an enormous and irresistible epic popcorn movie,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore (SCOR).
Dergarabedian added that “Infinity War” showcased the big screen experience in a way that audiences embraced, despite all of the competition from “an almost infinite array of options for on-demand entertainment.”
The Marvel film brings together more than 20 of the brand’s heroes including Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther.
“Infinity War” is the pinnacle of a decade’s worth of characters and storylines for Disney’s Marvel. The studio has been one of the biggest success stories in film history bringing in roughly $15.3 billion globally.
“Infinity War” was also a hit with critics bringing in a 84% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
Going into this weekend, the domestic box office was down about 3% compared to last year, but thanks to the big opening from “Infinity War” the 2018 North American box office is now up 3%, according to comScore.
“One huge blockbuster can make all the difference at the yearly box office,” Dergarabedian added. “‘Infinity War’ will effectively reverse the down trending box office we’ve seen so far this year and get the industry on track setting the stage for what could be a big summer.”
The fact that “Infinity War” out-earned “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Disney’s other brass-ring property, is significant. Star Wars is a cultural touchstone 40 years in the making. While that franchise appears to have lost its way, the Marvel/Avengers brand continues to collect steam.
Without revealing any spoilers, “Infinity War” ends on a massive cliffhanger, which will only build anticipation for the sequel next summer. Infinity War’s reign at the top of the historical box office might be short-lived.