Before May 2002, no movie in American history had opened to $100 million over its opening weekend.
Many had gotten close, most notably Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in November 2001 when it bowed to $90.2 million. But none crossed it until Spider-Man opened to $114 million in May 2002. It was a record-shattering bow that set the precedent for how movies based on Marvel Comics would be constantly setting the bar for opening weekend records. Spider-Man 3 became the first movie in history to open to over $150 million in May 2007. The Avengers become the first movie to open to over $200 million in May 2012. Avengers: Infinity War became the first movie to open to over $250 million in April 2018. And now, Avengers: Endgame has once again reset the standard for box office success by opening to a massive $350 million.
Needless to say, that’s a new opening weekend box office record, one that’s up 37% from the opening weekend of Avengers: Infinity War. Avengers: Endgame became the first movie to gross more than $150 million in a single day on its opening day, which included $60 million from Thursday night showings (the biggest haul ever from Thursday night showings), while its Saturday gross of $109 million is the first time in history a movie managed to gross $100+ million in a single day without the aid of Thursday night previews. In just three days, Avengers: Endgame is already the 46th biggest movie of all-time domestically and the ninth-biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ever made. It’s opening weekend per-theater average was $75,075, the biggest opening-weekend per-theater average for a wide release in history and the first time ever that a wide release has had an opening weekend per-theater average over $60,000. Oh, and the overseas box office was also impressive for this title as it’s grossed $1.2 billion worldwide over its first five days of release. It’s now highly likely that this manages to surpass the $2.78 billion gross of Avatar to become the biggest movie of all-time worldwide.
It’s not hyperbole to say that Avengers: Endgame has had an opening weekend that’s utterly staggering. What’s also interesting about this box office performance is that it doesn’t look like a frontloaded fans-only affair like the final Harry Potter movie. The movie actually had a solid Friday-to-Saturday increase (when taking out the Thursday night numbers), which seems to be stemming from the excellent word-of-mouth from audiences, which is reflected in an A+ CinemaScore, making Avengers: Endgame only the 83rd movie in history to receive such a score and only the third Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ever to get such a mark. This means Avengers: Endgame isn’t done with its domestic box office performance, not by a long shot.
If Avengers: Endgame holds like Captain America: Civil War in its domestic box office run, it’ll gross $824 million domestically. If it holds like last year’s Infinity War, it’ll gross $950 million, surpassing the $936.6 million gross of Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the title of biggest movie of all-time. If it does manage to become the biggest movie of all-time domestically, it’ll be the first movie since The Godfather to be the highest-grossing movie domestically without being either (A) a James Cameron directorial effort, (B) a Steven Spielberg directorial effort or (C) a Star Wars movie. We shall see in the weeks ahead if that comes to pass, but already, in this moment, Avengers: Endgame is clearly a mammoth success. Like many movies based on Marvel comics characters in the 21st century, Avengers: Endgame just reset the bar for success at the domestic box office.
Half of the movies in the top ten at the domestic box office this weekend were Disney movies and that included the top two features. In second place was another Marvel Cinematic Universe title, Captain Marvel. Whereas the vast majority of the titles in the marketplace suffered massive declines in the face of Endgame, Captain Marvel had a fantastic 11% hold from last weekend, bringing it to an eighth weekend of $8.05 million, the fourteenth best eighth weekend for any movie in history, for a domestic total of $413.5 million, making it the second-biggest non-Avengers Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in history.
Last weekend’s top movie, The Curse of La Llorona, fell 71% from its opening weekend to gross another $7.5 million. That’s a massive drop that indicates this title won’t be around for long, but no worries, it’s already grossed $41.2 million, nearly triple its $15 million budget. Breakthrough was also one of the few holdovers to not have a massive drop in the face of Endgame, though its 44% drop was bigger than the second-weekend holds of Miracles from Heaven and Heaven is for Real. Taking in another $6.3 million, Breakthrough has now grossed $26.1 million. Also falling sharply this weekend was Shazam!, which dropped 66% to gross another $5.5 million for a $131.1 million domestic total.
From here on out, it’s just major weekend-to-weekend drops all around and that includes Little, which dropped another 58% this weekend to gross another $3.4 million for a $35.8 million domestic total. Dumbo dropped 51% this frame to add $3.2 million to a domestic gross of $107 million while Pet Sematary dropped 73% to gross another $1.29 million for a domestic total of $52.6 million. Right behind it was Us, which fell 73% to gross another $1.1 million for a gargantuan domestic total of $172.8 million. Rounding out the top ten was yet another Disney title, Penguins, which grossed another $1 million, a 54% drop from last weekend, for a domestic title of $5.7 million.
Right outside the top ten was Missing Link, which fell a whopping 77% to gross another $950,885 for a domestic total of just $15.4 million. Amazing Grace was one holdover that actually held well this weekend as it expanded into 243 locations and grossed $539,900 (only a 10% drop from last weekend) for a per-theater average of $2,222 and a domestic total of $2.1 million. That kind of smaller weekend-to-weekend drop was the exception rather than the norm among the holdovers as seen by the 82% drop of After, which had a third-weekend gross of $425,000 and a domestic gross of $11.6 million. Hellboy had easily the worst weekend-to-weekend drop of any of the wide release holdovers as it plummeted a catastrophic 91% for a third-weekend gross of $355,000 for a domestic gross of just $21.5 million.
Kalank fell 75% in its second weekend of release, adding $310,000 to a domestic gross that now stands at $2.5 million. The Mustang added another $292,000, a 43% drop from last weekend, to a domestic haul that now stands at $4.5 million. Red Joan, meanwhile, expanded into 45 locations and grossed $165,204 for a per-theater average of $3,671 and a domestic total of $222,257. High Life is on the cusp of cracking $1 million domestically as it grossed another $147,500 from 146 locations for a per-theater average of $1,010 and a domestic total of $947,032. Family grossed $102,720 from 107 locations for a per-theater average of $960 and a domestic total of $126,522. Wild Nights With Emily expanded into 65 locations and took in another $95,461 for a per-theater average of $1,469 and a domestic total of $230,926. Over in the limited release newcomers sphere, The White Crow opened to $80,000 in five locations for a per-theater average of $16,000. Her Smell, in its third weekend of release, expanded into 40 locations but grossed just $34,835 (a 45% drop from last weekend) for a per-theater average of $871 and a domestic total of $171,725. In its second weekend of release, Little Woods fell 40% from its opening weekend to gross another $34,310 from 29 locations for a per-theater average of $1,183 and a domestic total of $116,476. Hensburgh bowed in two locations and grossed $18,150 for a per-theater average of $9,075 while Carmine Street Guitars bowed in a single location and grossed $7,081.
The top twelve movies this weekend grossed $389 million. Thanks to this weekend alone, April 2019 is on the cusp of crossing $1 billion and it looks like April 2019 will be able to surpass April 2018’s $1,026.8 billion gross to become the biggest April in history. Could this be the start of a much-needed turnaround for the 2019 domestic box office? With May 2019 being chock full of big titles like Detective Pikachu, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Rocketman, it certainly looks like that just might be in the cards…