First, let's get the financials out of the way. I've already broke down the numbers suggesting Endgame could hit close to $900 million worldwide on opening weekend -- $900+/- million, specifically -- and that remains a very strong possibility (and not just in a "technically anything is possible" manner).
Keep in mind, due to China turning this Sunday into a workday, we are incorporating the Middle Kingdom's earlier weekday opening receipts into the weekend math since those numbers represent people who would otherwise surely be buying tickets on the weekend instead (they are, after all, the viewers seeking the earliest possible screenings). And on its first day of release in China, Emdgame has already amassed $107 million. With estimates for the Chinese debut now topping $200+ million, and with expectations for the domestic bow hitting as high as $300+ million, and overall worldwide anticipation at a frenzy this week, it will be a record-shattering opening. So if you thought maybe it wouldn't really top the territory's opening numbers for Infinity War, you can go ahead and let go of that skepticism now.
Theaters are adding so many new screenings to meet demand, to the point many are now operating 24 hours a day all through the weekend. Already, more than 4,000+ screenings have completely sold out on opening weekend, and chains like AMC announced many theaters will stay open 24 hours with around-the-clock screenings all weekend long. At Fandango and other online ticket sales sites, Endgame is breaking all kinds of presale records.
I think domestic will hit at least $280 million this weekend. Worldwide outside of China, I expect total opening grosses to top $680+ million, while China should be good for at least $200+ million, pushing the global receipts toward $885+ million. That "plus" at the end of those numbers indicates a likelihood of exceeding those figures, mind you, so I'm still anticipating $890+ million by the close of business Sunday.
If Endgame finishes its massive debut with anything in the $850 million range, then a $2+ billion finish is all but inevitable. A modest 2.3x final multiplier would get it to $1.955 billion, and a 2.5x would push it within a hair of passing Infinity War. Should it open to $870 million, then 2.3x pushes it over the $2 billion mark, and 2.5x sends it to $2.175 billion -- which is within shooting distance of Titanic's #2 spot on the all-time box office charts.
I'm guessing a $890+ million worldwide opening, with at least a 2.4x multiplier, which will see Endgame power past $2.1+ billion. I'll have a full analysis of Endgame's opening after official numbers roll in, so stay tuned, and I'll also give you some early assessments as the weekend gets underway, so stay tuned for that.
Now, read on for my full spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame...
Maybe you've heard this story before, if you read my articles much, but it's a story I must tell again: I was raised on comic books. Growing up in the rural south with little money and a small house crowded with 12 people, the world felt very small. But as a small child, comics, TV, and film were my escapes from a reality that felt overwhelmingly cruel and limited.
By the time I was six years old and before I even started school, I'd been taught to read comic books. They were a window into another world where imagination had no limits and anything felt possible for those few precious minutes while I read Batman, Spider-Man, and Captain America -- the heroes who defined my introduction to and love of comics and superhero storytelling.
That's how Stan Lee changed my life at a very young age. He seemed to speak directly to me personally in every issue of every Marvel comic book. He told me I wasn't alone, that the world was bigger than I knew, that I was part of something larger than myself even if it didn't feel like it yet. He told me that with great power there must also come great responsibility, and my understanding of that concept came into sharp relief one day as a child, when I realize he wasn't really talking about "super-human" power -- he meant all of us, every day of our lives, have great power to help and save one another from the pains and struggles of our individual lives, and we all have a responsibility to save one another. Because we are all in this together, to the end of the line.
So it is, then, that Marvel has always meant a great deal more to me than just being a publisher or a studio that tells fun fantasy stories. To me, Marvel is an idea, to bring all of us together and teach us to become something more. And now, Marvel Studios has taken that legacy and lived up to it in glorious, honorable ways. Just as those comics brought characters and worlds to life, so now do the Marvel films. And just as the comics taught me and so many other people that we all have great power and great responsibility to one another, the MCU carries the torch for those lessons and continues teaching new generations how to stand together and make this world better.
Which is what makes Avengers: Endgame so awe-inspiring and so bittersweet. It is the culmination of more than a decade of storytelling and anticipation, both a vivid realization of what Marvel is and a beautiful conclusion for a grand experiment.
I attended the Los Angeles premiere of Avengers: Endgame at the LA Convention Center. It was bigger, more extravagant, more full of a sense of history and anticipation, and more pure fun and exciting than any premiere event I've ever attended. Which is fitting, because those words also describe the film itself. And once again, I was blessed that my first time seeing the film was in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, which have become the gold standard format for viewing superhero and other genre entertainment like this.
I watched Endgame a second time this week, too, on a regular screen, and I can tell you that my typical obsession with image and color fidelity, with audio quality and immersion, makes me tell you as forcefully as I can -- see this film in premium format, because the color and crispness and depth of your viewing experience will be unmatched in a Dolby Cinema. In case you think this is me showing bias, let me be very clear -- it is, because I am verybiased in favor of the best way to see these movies. I'm so biased, in fact, that I bought a TCL television with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos because I refuse to watch anything in any other format when I have the option of getting a 1:1,000,000 contrast ratio (other top screening formats only offer a contrast ratio of 1:8,000). And whenever my friends tell me they don't have a similar TV, I invite them to my house to watch movies on mine (and my films of choice to demonstrate how amazing it looks are Avengers: Infinity War and Batman v Superman).
This matters to me, not just for myself, but for you as my readers who love these films too. It's like if you had a modern smart TV with a Blu-ray player, but your friends were watching these movies on VHS tapes on their 1980s square television sets -- you'd beg them to come to your house and see what they're missing, and convince them that their favorite superhero and genre entertainment deserve to be seen in the best possible format.
Thus I marveled (pun intended) at the premiere's presentation of Avengers: Endgame, sitting just a few feet away from stars from the MCU films and the filmmakers who brought it all to life. Which now brings me to the film itself...
There is no way to overstate the filmmaking and storytelling achievement represented by the directing team of Joe and Anthony Russo, and of Kevin Feige and everyone at Marvel Studios. The scale, emotional weight, visual spectacle, complexity, and power of Avengers: Endgameexceeds everything fans could hope for. This is the sort of one-two punch many franchises dream of, but few can even claim to come close to achieving. To raise the stakes again and again as the Russos have done with their entries in Marvel canon, and for each instance to surpass what came before, should be impossible. Yet here we are, staring down the barrel of the impossible. Again.
There is so much happening in Endgame, so many plot threads not just tied together but woven into a gorgeous tapestry where each individual strand and combination stands out in its own right, until it all completes a perfect final picture. There are no false moments, no uncertainty, no hesitation. Endgame is towering, unflinching in its grandeur and determination to be larger and bolder than anything we've experienced on film before, daring us to think it can't get any bigger while we watch it do just that.
Coming in the aftermath of Infinity War's enormous human losses, Endgame is a more introspective film that wears its heart on its sleeve in the best possible way. Emotions run high throughout, and it's no spoiler or surprise to say you'll probably be crying several times before you walk out of the theater. This is obviously a more somber, darker film than Infinity War in many ways. It's also a bit less constantly relentlessly paced, at least at the start. But that's neither a complaint about Infinity War, nor about Endgame -- the former had to hit the ground running and maintain its momentum because that's what the story needed; the latter stands in the aftermath of those events, and necessarily requires certain setup and emotional reflection.
Have no fear, though, if you think this means Endgame isn't an action-packed mind-blowing extravaganza, think again. Even with time to catch its breath and some contemplative beats, it still has more action and spectacle than most any other movie you've ever seen in your life.
The Marvel cast deliver tour de force performances that are series-bests for everyone. So many character arcs are involved, it's a miracle the story juggles them all perfectly and with such seeming ease, although I know it wasn't remotely easy at all, the cast and filmmakers are just so good they make it look that way. We've been with them since the start eleven years ago, and it's wonderful to be here with them to the end of the line. If the Oscars had an award for Best Ensemble, there isn't remotely any doubt Endgame would take home that statuette.
Visually, Endgame is another brilliant visual accomplishment, with even more spectacular visual effects than Infinity War (which says a lot, obviously). It will undoubtedly earn an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, and this time I think Marvel will win. The visual effects teams have elevated their game yet again, and you'll be stunned at what you get this time around. Oh, and again, seeing these images and effects in Dolby Vision is a must -- trust me, however great you thought Thanos and the rest of Infinity War's impressive effects looked on a regular screen, it doesn't hold a candle to seeing it in a format capable of generating colors that never existed before and with contrast that gives everything a greater depth and sense of solidity.