1:17am PT by Patrick Brzeski
Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame' Roars Into China With Record $107M Opening Day
Disney/Marvel's Avengers: Endgame is already making box office history in China, the world's second-biggest film market.
The wildly anticipated franchise closer, directed by the Russo brothers, opened Wednesday in the Middle Kingdom, two days ahead of its U.S. debut.
Endgame earned an astonishing $107.2 million on its first day of release in China, including a record $28.2 million in midnight previews, according to an early estimate from Disney. The huge total sets a new single-day record for the China market, eclipsing the local blockbuster Monster Hunt 2's $85 million bow last year. Hollywood's former one-day record in China was $69 million, earned by Universal's The Fate of the Furious in 2017.
Endgame also accounted for an astonishing 99 percent of all movie tickets sold in China on Wednesday. Many top multiplexes had the film playing on every screen, with showings starting every 15 to 30 minutes.
Prerelease forecasts had Endgame earning approximately $270 million over its five-day opening frame, but some observers are already nudging the upper end of their predicted range past the $300 million mark.
Local ticketing giant Maoyan projects that Endgame will earn approximately RMB3.5 billion ($521 million) over the course of its full China run — which would be yet another new all-time record for an imported film in the country.
Hollywood's reigning overall China champ is The Fate of the Furious, with its huge $392.8 million haul in 2017.
Three patriotic local blockbusters sit at the very top of China's all-time box office chart: Wolf Warrior 2 ($854 million), The Wandering Earth ($684 million) and Operation Red Sea ($576 million). Prior to its release, few analysts believed Endgame had any chance of catching up to one of these titles. But the early word of mouth for Endgame on the ground in China may prompt some to reconsider.
The buzz for the film has been overwhelmingly positive so far — an especially good sign given its risky three-hour-plus running time. Endgame has a chart-topping 9.3/10 score on Maoyan's ticketing app and an even more impressive 9.2/10 rating on movie site Douban, which is famously discerning.
Online scores and chatter exert a powerful influence over filmgoers in China. Word of mouth has been known to knock the legs out from under heavily hyped fan disappointments or, conversely, to elevate more obscure movies into box office sensations.
All things considered, Avengers: Endgame's early reception in China could hardly look more positive.