Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, the Russo Brothers’ wildly anticipated franchise closer, is flexing its muscles for a record-smashing run in China.
As of midday Tuesday Beijing time, the tentpole, set to open in China on Wednesday, had already reached $90 million (RMB 603 million) in presales, setting a new all-time presales record, ahead of local tentpole Monster Hunt 2 (RMB 401 million) and Avengers: Infinity War (RMB 398 million).
Avengers: Endgame also is estimated to earn more than $20 million in midnight previews, more than double the existing previews record held by Furious 8 ($9.1 million) since 2017.
Endgame, the 22nd installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), is the culmination of the 11-year journey that started with Iron Man, and is a direct sequel to Infinity War from last year. The franchise’s start coincided with the beginnings of China’s box office boom era, meaning a whole generation of young Chinese filmgoers’ first memories of the multiplex are nostalgically linked to MCU superhero movies. Marvel fandom is as fervent in the Middle Kingdom as anywhere in the world.
Opening in China on Wednesday, two days ahead of the U.S., Avengers: Endgame should have no trouble topping Infinity War‘s $191 million opening from July last year.
Artisan Gateway, a leading China box office reporting group, predicts Endgame will earn around $270 million (1.8 billion RMB) during its five-day opening. The company forecasts Endgame to finish its run as the first Hollywood film to earn more than RMB 3 billion (just under $450 million) in China. Universal’s The Fate of the Furious is currently the biggest U.S. film in China ever, with $392 million (RMB 2.67 billion).
With Endgame opening in China midweek, most direct comparisons to past opening weekends will be somewhat imprecise. Endgame is also well positioned for a strong performance in its second weekend, which will overlap with China’s Labor Day holiday, which grants local students and workers off from Wednesday, May 1, to Saturday, May 4. But in a quirk of Chinese holiday scheduling, the weekdays off mean that both Sunday, April 28, and Sunday, May 5, become replacement work days.
China’s theatrical film market is notoriously tricky to predict, as word of mouth and online buzz have been known to knock out the legs of heavily hyped fan disappointments or lift more obscure movies to unexpected box office heights. Thus, the true temperature for Avengers: Endgame‘s China run will only begin to emerge once the midnight previews begin playing and user-generated reviews accumulate en masse on China’s ticketing apps.
Endgame is expected to have no trouble scoring the biggest opening ever at the global box office, with $850 million-$900 million (less conservative analysts are even floating the $1 billion milestone). In North America, it’s likewise expected to unseat Avengers: Infinity War and post a record debut of $270 million-plus, with some betting on $300 million.