'Avengers: Endgame' scores epic triumph in China

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 29, 2019
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A promotional poster for "Avengers: Endgame" [Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios]

Disney and Marvel's juggernaut superhero blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame" has smashed dozens of box office records with a global debut of US$1.21 billion, including 2.22 billion yuan (US$330.5 million) in China and US$350 million in North America.

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, "Avengers: Endgame" is purported to be the finale of the "Infinity Saga," a phrase Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige coined for the first 22 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe released over the past decade, which have grossed a combined total of more than US$19.8 billion worldwide thus far, including new earnings by "Endgame."

The debut sets a jaw-dropping high-water mark for an opening weekend worldwide. In China, the film broke 21 box office records, starting with biggest preview showings record sales of 189 million yuan (US$28.07 million) at Tuesday midnight and Wednesday 3 a.m. The film then went on to earn the biggest-ever opening day gross of 725 million yuan (US$107.8 million), including the preview earnings, an even more remarkable phenomenon given that it opened on a Wednesday. 

The film generated 551 million yuan (US$81.89 million) on Saturday alone, the largest single-day gross ever in China, excluding midnight earnings, and became the fastest film to reach the 2-billion-yuan mark at box offices nationwide, in just four days, according to Maoyan, China's major ticketing and box office tracking service.

China's 5-day opening record has already landed it at the position of 13th highest-grossing film ever in China, breaking the Chinese opening week box office record set by the domestic sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth," which made 2.02 billion yuan (US$300.22 million) in 6 days during the Spring Festival in February this year. It looks likely to surpass in the next few days its predecessor "Avengers: Infinity War," the current highest-grossing superhero film in China, which made 2.39 billion yuan (US$356.5 million) in Chinese box offices last year. 

IMAX China was clearly a big winner, boasting the best viewing experience for "Endgame," the second film in history to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras, with 26% more picture in the frame compared to standard screens. The film set a record for biggest IMAX opening in China, drawing US$42.4 million at 609 IMAX screens across the country over the weekend. This means its five-day run is equal to about 46% of the worldwide total IMAX opening record of US$91.5 million, and has already surpassed the entire IMAX China run of "Infinity War" (US$41.2 million), according to IMAX China. 

The film's epic triumph in China fueled a record-shattering opening weekend for all international territories outside North America, with the combined figure reaching US$859 million. The previous biggest international haul went to Universal Pictures' 2017 film "The Fate of the Furious" with US$443 million. China's Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as other major film markets such as Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Latin America all saw their highest-earning opening weekends ever and highest single-day grosses, Deadline.com reported.

In North America, the estimated US$350 million debut of "Endgame" overshot the previous record set by "Avengers: Infinity War" (US$257.69 million) by nearly US$93 million, and took a whopping 90% of the overall weekend market share. The film set a series of new records in the U.S., including largest Thursday preview sales of US$60 million, widest opening in 4,662 theaters, largest opening day and single-day gross of US$156.7 million, and biggest opening weekend sales of US$350 million. 

This makes "Endgame" the first film to open with more than US$300 million respectively in both China and North America, the two biggest box office markets in the world.

With all global statistics combined, the new Marvel installment has broken the previous record for worldwide opening set by "Avengers: Infinity War" in 2018 with US$640.5 million. "Endgame" is also the fastest film to cross the one-billion-dollar mark in history, doing so in only five days after its release, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Critics and internet users were overwhelmingly in support of the film, as the film's opening weekend crowd gave it an "A+" CinemaScore in North America and a critic approval rating of 96% on the American review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. In China, it received a very high score of 8.9/10 from 357,660 users on Douban.com, China's movie review aggregator site, which could further help ticket sales. In the Chinese market, "Endgame" could go on to reach even greater heights, as it also has no solid rivals during the upcoming "golden film season" of the four-day May Day national holiday starting May 1.

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