7:18am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame' Eyes Record-Smashing $300M-Plus U.S. Bow
In an unprecedented feat, Disney and Marvel's Avengers: Endgame is headed for a staggering $300 million-plus North American debut, according to early Friday matinees.
Friday's haul alone is an estimated $140 million. That includes $60 million in Thursday previews. Both are records.
No film in history has crossed the $300 million threshold in its domestic debut.
Overseas, Avengers: Endgame also continues to shatter records since beginning to roll out on Wednesday. Its two-day gross is a massive $305 million, including a hefty chunk from China, for an early worldwide total of $365 million before the weekend even began.
Directed by the Russo brothers, who shot the movie back-to-back with last year's Infinity War, Endgame is now on course for a global launch of $950 million, if not $1 billion.
Infinity War is the current record holder for biggest global opening ($640.5 million) and biggest domestic launch ($257.6 million), not adjusted for inflation. (Infinity War earned $38 million in domestic previews.)
In terms of biggest single day, that crown belonged to Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($119 million) before Endgame. Force Awakens also boasted the biggest preview gross ($57 million) until now.
The nostalgia factor is running hot. Not only is Endgame a direct sequel to Infinity War, it's the culmination of the previous 21 titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a blockbuster series of films that commenced with Iron Man in 2008 and established Kevin Feige's Marvel Studios as best in show.
Endgame sports an impressive 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, the best second best of any MCU title behind Black Panther (97 percent).
Internationally, Endgame set opening day records in numerous markets, such as in China, where it grossed $107.5 million on Wednesday (through Thursday, that gross grew to $154.5 million).
The movie — which is pacing ahead of Infinity War everywhere — also posted the highest single gross in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines, the U.K., Brazil, Egypt, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Trinidad and Uruguay.
April 26, 12 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.