8:23am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: 'Avengers: Infinity War' Passes 'Star Wars: Force Awakens' With Record $258M U.S. Bow
The galaxy has a new ruler.
Disney and Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War kicked off the summer box office in high style over the weekend, opening to a record-setting $258.2 million in North America and $382.7 million overseas for a global total of $640.9 million, the top worldwide debut of all time, according to final numbers. The superhero mashup accomplished the feat without China, where it doesn't unfurl until May 11.
Final numbers released Monday were up from Sunday's estimates, which showed Infinity War debuting to $250 million domestically and $630 million internationally.
Fellow Disney title Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) was the previous record-holder for biggest domestic bow, while Universal's The Fate of the Furious had held the record for biggest global start ($541.9 million).
Infinity War's box-office victory was aided by the biggest Saturday of all time in North America ($83 million), as well as the biggest Sunday ($69 million), reflecting powerful word of mouth. The tentpole cost close to $300 million to produce before a major marketing spend.
Directed by the Russo brothers, Avengers: Infinity War is the most ambitious amassing of superheroes ever on the big screen and comes as Marvel Studios — led by Kevin Feige — celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2009, Walt Disney Co. chief Bob Iger paid $4 billion to acquire Marvel Entertainment, even though many of the superhero characters in Marvel's stable were unproven.
"Marvel spent 10 years methodically and carefully creating a universe of characters, worlds and stories that all led to this and, in doing so, created an event unlike anything the business has ever seen," said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis as he prepares to exit the top post and turn his job over to studio veteran Cathleen Taff.
"We have been sitting here all weekend in astonishment," added Taff.
Infinity War is the first film to be shot entirely with Imax cameras. Imax theaters in turn delivered $41 million of the total worldwide gross, the biggest showing ever for a Marvel title. The U.S. share was $22.5 million.
Infinity War follows the massive success of Marvel's Black Panther, a cultural phenomenon and fanboy darling that currently ranks as the top-grossing superhero film of all time in North America with $688 million in ticket sales. The titular character, played by Chadwick Boseman, appears in the Avengers film and was no doubt a boost for Infinity War.
In a surprise twist, interest in Black Panther — now in its 11th weekend — once again spiked as Infinity War debuted. Black Panther moved back up the chart from No. 8 to No. 5, earning $4.4 million.
Marvel Studios is unrivaled in its success, now boasting six of the top 10 opening weekends of all time. The Avengers ($207.4 million) previously held the mark for the biggest superhero launch, followed by Black Panther ($202 million). They are the only other superhero titles to have crossed $200 million in their first weekend.
Infinity War also continues Disney's domination at the box office. The studio has bragging rights to nine of the 10 biggest domestic openings, including the top three; Infinity War, Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million). Universal's Jurassic World ($208.8 million) is No. 4.
As in North America, Infinity War set a slew of industry records overseas, including staking out the second-best international opening all time. Fate of the Furious still reigns as the top international opening with $443.2 million, thanks to a hefty $185 million day-and-day debut in China. Without China, Fate of the Furious' international start would have been roughly $258 million.
Nabbing an A CinemaScore, Infinity War reunites the Avengers gang and friends, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Panther (Boseman), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), as they join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy crew to stop the evil intergalactic despot Thanos (Josh Brolin).
Black Panther stars Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright and Winston Duke also appear in Infinity War, the third outing in the Avengers series. Other characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe making a play include Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Bradley Cooper are some of the stars from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise appearing in Infinity War.
No other wide release dared open opposite Infinity War. Save for Black Panther, most holdovers felt the pinch, although Paramount's hit horror film, A Quiet Place, still made noise, grossing $10.7 million for a domestic total of $148.2 million. Overseas, the pic earned another $6.6 million for a foreign cume of $87.2 million and $235.4 million globally.
A Quiet Place easily came in No. 2 domestically, followed by the Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty, which tumbled 49 percent in its second weekend to $8.1 million for a $29.6 million total. STX and Voltage are partners on the film.
Warner Bros.' action-adventure Rampage appeared to be the hardest hit by Infinity War, falling 65 percent to $7.1 million for a domestic cume of $77.9 million at the end of its third weekend. As expected, Infinity War took the wind of out Rampage overseas, where the Dwayne Johnson-led pic earned $16.2 million for a foreign total of $256.7 million and $334.6 million globally. Rampage has done stellar business in China, grossing north of $127 million to date.
In a smart counterprogramming move at the U.S. specialty box office, Bleecker Street opened the LGBT drama Disobedience in five theaters in the U.S. The film, starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, grossed $241,246 for a strong per-screen average of $48,255, the second best of the year to date for a specialty pic behind Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs. Disobedience, which made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, played to a predominantly female audience with a strong LGBT base, according to Bleecker Street. It also performed well in art houses.