Back when Star Wars The Force Awakens smashed its way to $2.068 billion worldwide, it looked set to be the king of the modern cinema era. Infinity War squeaked up very close last year with a $2.048 billion haul, and now Endgame looks set to blast past that and Star Wars 9 looks unlikely to match it. Avengers 4 is also on track for the biggest opening weekend of all time. All these facts and the eclipse of Star Wars all have one massive factor in common.
China. The country, not the tableware, obviously.
A new Avengers Endgame analysis is predicting the movie will take around $820million on its opening weekend, compared to Infinity War’s $630 million.
The fact that Avengers 4 is the climax to over ten years and 21 movies so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe should guarantee a strong opening. As should the fact that Infinity War ended on one of the biggest movie cliffhangers of all time.
But it is the emerging importance of China, reinforced by Aquaman’s spectacularly effective strategy there, which changes everything.
Traditionally, Hollywood blockbusters have opened in China long after the rest of the world. Aquaman flipped the game, opening there first. This clever gamble paid off and gave the movie a massive opening which ignited a slightly hesitant box office still bruised from the previous uneven DC offerings.
Marvel and the Avengers movies are already secure in their appeal and anticipation and guaranteed an enormous opening anyway. However, Avengers 3 took $190 million when it opened in China, weeks after the rest of the world.
Add that to the main opening weekend’s $630million and even if Endgame performs only as well as Infinity War it will take a combined $820 million. However, it is very likely it will actually surpass the previous movie. Could it pass $1 billion?
A billion dollar opening weekend is not impossible, but there have been no industry tracking figures released yet. When tickets start going on sale next week, the official predictions will begin.
The huge importance of China is also the main contributing factor why Star Wars 9 is unlikely to match Endgame.
The Star Wars franchise has yet to find any real traction in China, while Marvel, DC, Pixar and franchises like Fast and Furious do increasingly well.
The Force Awakens only took £124million total in China and The Last Jedi plummetted to $42million. With a Star Wars franchise still beset with fan divisions and a Marvel powerhouse still going from strength to strength, it looks like the Avengers will End the Game in triumph, once and for all.
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