Heading into the weekend, it was a foregone conclusion that Avengers: Endgame would dominate the box office. Rival studios wisely opted to avoid directly competing with the climax of an 11-year, 22-film arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—if you were going to the movies this weekend, the thinking went, it was probably for Endgame. Turns out that wasn’t just hyperbole.
Endgame shattered a ton of global and domestic box office records this weekend, the most impressive of which we’ll give a quick shout-out to. For starters, the film had a 90 percent market share—as in, 90 percent of all people who went to the movies went to see Endgame, the largest share a movie has ever had over the course of a weekend. Beyond that, the sheer number of moviegoers showing up resulted in the biggest domestic box office opening of all time ($350 million), as well as the largest international box office opening ever ($866 million) en route to the biggest worldwide opening weekend in history ($1.2 billion), according to Box Office Mojo. With just a single weekend in the books, Endgame is already among the 20 highest-grossing films ever released; at this rate, its inclusion in the top 10 and beyond should be a matter of when, not if.
The mind-numbing amount of money Endgame made is remarkable, though not without some precedence. It was Endgame’s direct predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War, that held the previous records for domestic opening ($250 million) and worldwide opening weekend ($640 million). Given that people were that invested in Infinity War, it wasn’t exactly surprising that the multiplexes would be flooded by those wanting to know how exactly the Avengers who survived the Snapture would bring back the likes of Peter Parker and Black Panther and stop the swole genocidal purple alien with the voice of Josh Brolin. (If this constitutes a spoiler, well, I’m not sure what to tell you: Spider-Man has a movie coming out in July, folks.)
It’s too early to tell whether Endgame has a reasonable shot of eclipsing the biggest box office record of all: Avatar’s $2.78 billion global haul. (Lol, remember when we collectively lost our minds over Avatar?) But Endgame could be boosted by strong word of mouth to those who haven’t yet seen it: the film has an “A+” grade from Cinemascore, becoming only the third MCU film to earn those honors, alongside Black Panther and The Avengers. Whether or not Avatar’s tally is ultimately topped, Endgame is already positioning itself as one of the biggest blockbuster events on record—providing even more evidence that Disney is the single most dominant entertainment conglomerate on the planet. To wit, the company has also acquired most of 21st Century Fox, which was responsible for … Avatar (and those four—yes, four!—Avatar sequels that will be released under the Disney corporate umbrella once Ocean Master James Cameron breaches the surface).
But Avatar’s impressive numbers notwithstanding, its sequels probably won’t elicit the same kind of hype as Endgame or other tentpole franchises of its ilk. So, I guess we may as well ask: Is there any blockbuster on the horizon that could stand a reasonable chance of usurping the preposterous numbers that Endgame threw down this weekend?
If it happens, it’s probably coming from in house. Disney has some of the most anticipated releases for the rest of the year, including Jon Favreau’s “live-action” remake of The Lion King, Toy Story 4—and, oh right, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at Christmas. It’s too early for box office prognosticators to give an estimate on how much money the new Star Wars movie could make, but let’s go out on a limb and say it will be very goddamn popular.
Before the double whammy of Infinity War and Endgame, it was Star Wars: The Force Awakens that boasted the best domestic opening of all time—just short of $250 million. And like Endgame, The Rise of Skywalker portends to be the end of a chapter in the Star Wars Cinematic Universe. But, really, the biggest takeaway from Endgame’s huge weekend is that, no matter how the box office pendulum swings in 2019, Disney is making—and should continue to make—a shitload of money from the silver screen. In case it wasn’t already evident: It’s Mickey Mouse’s world, and we’re just living (and watching blockbusters) in it.