Avengers: Infinity War cleared well over $100 million at the domestic box office Friday, placing it behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the second-largest opening day gross of all time. It wasn’t a question whether Infinity War, the largest gathering of Marvel’s superheroes yet, was going to make big money in its debut this week, but how much. After all, the first chapter, The Avengers took in an astonishing $207.4 million in its three-day opening frame domestically in 2012, while its follow-up, Avengers: Age of Ultron, made $191.2 million in its first weekend in 2015.
The difference with Infinity War, however, is the sheer scope of the film, which is the 19th Marvel Cinematic Universe production since Marvel Studios kicked the film series off in 2008 with Iron Man. Virtually every major superhero character apart from Hawkeye and Ant-Man appear in Infinity War, easily making the film the most star-studded feature Marvel Studios has ever produced. For that reason alone, estimates for Infinity War were high going into this weekend, and judging the film’s opening day gross, the superhero extravaganza appears to be more than meeting expectations.
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According to Box Office Mojo, Infinity War made $105.9 million stateside Friday (which includes an estimated $39 million from Thursday night previews), enough to stake a No. 2 position on the chart for highest opening-day gross. While Infinity War fell short of The Force Awakens’ record shattering opening day of $119.1 million in 2015, the film was able to best Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s opening day gross of $104.6 million in December. To date, Infinity War and the latest two Star Wars films are the only motion pictures in history to eclipse the $100 million mark on opening day. Age of Ultron, which is N0. 5 on the all-time list, made $84.4 million on its opening day, while The Avengers is at No. 8 with an $80.5 million first-day gross.
A small advantage Infinity War has over the previous two Avengers chapters is the number of screens it is playing on. Infinity War opened this weekend at 4,474 locations, while The Avengers debuted at 4,349 locales and Age of Ultron at 4,276. However, Infinity War is the longest of the three films at 2 hours, 36 minutes (The Avengers clocked in at 2 hours, 22 minutes and Age of Ultron at 2 hours, 21 minutes), so the longer run time could potentially cut into the number of times the film is shown per day at theaters, thus equating to less cash in Marvel’s and Disney’s coffers.
It’s highly unlikely the studios are sweating the longer run-time, however, since Infinity War’s opening weekend forecast, as of Friday, is projected anywhere between $225 and $245 million. Even at the high end of the projection, the film would fall just shy of The Force Awakens’ domestic opening weekend record of $247.9 million – a record that will be challenged once again when Avengers 4 is released just over a year from now.
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Source: Box Office Mojo