6:40am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box-Office Preview: 'Avengers: Infinity War' Sets Sights on Record U.S. Bow
Disney and Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War is headed for world domination.
The mega-superhero mashup is widely expected to score the top domestic debut of all time for a superhero pic upon unfurling in theaters this weekend and kicking off the summer box office. Tracking suggests it will open north of $225 million, but many believe it has a shot at surpassing fellow Disney pic Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) to land the top North American opening in history (Disney is being conservative in sticking to $210 million-plus).
To date, The Avengers ($207.4 million) holds the record for the biggest superhero launch, followed by Black Panther ($202 million). They are the only two superhero titles to have crossed $200 million in their first weekend.
After Force Awakens, the biggest North American openings belong to Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million) and Jurassic World ($208.8 million).
Infinity War opens in most major territories around the globe timed to its U.S. release, excluding Russia (May 3) and China (May 11), and could approach $500 million worldwide by the end of Sunday.
Directed by the Russo brothers, Infinity War reunites the Avengers gang and friends, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Panther (Chadwick 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).
The success of Disney and Marvel's Black Panther could be a huge boost for Infinity War. Black Panther has earned $681 million in North America to become the No. 3 film of all time behind Force Awakens ($936.7 million) and Avatar ($760.5 million). Globally, it has earned $1.325 billion to rest at No. 10 of the all-time biggest earners.
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), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) 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 film is daring a nationwide opening opposite Infinity War.