In a surprise to absolutely no one, the first tracking for Avengers: Infinity War has the film pegged for a monumental opening weekend at the box office. Per THR, Disney insiders are suggesting an opening weekend in the range of $175 million to $200 million, but studios are notoriously conservative with these kinds of numbers so as not to see the actual results become underwhelming. So that means we’re likely looking at an opening weekend over $200 million for the highly anticipated MCU sequel.
Only five movies ever have opened over $200 million, not adjusting for inflation. The first to do so, fittingly, was 2012’s The Avengers—the crossover event that proved the Marvel Cinematic Universe could work. Here’s what the current Top 10 opening weekends of all time looks like:
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – $247,966,675
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – $220,009,584
3. Jurassic World – $208,806,270
4. Marvel’s The Avengers – $207,438,708
5. Black Panther – $202,003,951
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron – $191,271,109
7. Captain America: Civil War – $179,139,142
8. Beauty and the Beast (2017) – $174,750,616
9. Iron Man 3 – $174,144,585
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – $169,189,427
The “oldest” movie on this list is the final Harry Potter movie, which opened seven years ago. The increasing frequencies of breaking opening weekend records is largely a consequence of studios’ high risk/high reward model. No longer do studios routinely make mid-budget dramas; instead they invest a ton of money in “event” films that have to make $500 million just to break even. So a $200 million opening weekend is great to be sure, but it’s just a fraction of the way towards profitability, whereas something like a modestly budgeted IT opening to $123 million is in some ways even more impressive.
Infinity War brings together nearly every MCU character we’ve seen thus far, and so it seems fair to assume it’ll surpass the opening weekends of both Avengers movies, and could even soar to Force Awakens levels. Can it break $247 million? Marvel’s M.O. has been to surpass expectations at every turn, so it’d be foolish to think that’s out of the question.
Then of course we have to ask how high this thing will go during its theatrical run. Many are saying that beating Black Panther’s domestic total of $655.6 million is a given, but I’m not so sure. Infinity War is the “bigger” movie, but it also has less legroom. It has about three weeks alone in terms of blockbuster openings, but then we get Deadpool 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ocean’s 8, and Incredibles 2 to start crowding the marketplace. Black Panther, meanwhile, had a ton of runway to entice fans to keep coming back. So we’ll see.
For now, though, we can pretty much guarantee that Infinity War’s opening weekend box office is going to make history.