Two weeks into its release, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame made history when it cemented itself as the fifth film to rake in $2 billion in worldwide box office earnings. With this smashing feat, the latest of the five Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films has zoomed past Titanic when it crossed the $2 billion mark in just 11 days.
The massive opening weekend for Avengers: Endgame accounted for 58 percent of its overall domestic earnings, making it the first film in history to ever earn $1 billion in ticket sales out of its debut.
The film created a whirlwind of a demand from MCU fanatics and new followers alike which led Walt Disney Co. to open the film in 4,662 theatres across U.S. and Canada. Bursting numbers of moviegoers have led online ticketing websites to crash and a few theatres to stay open up to 72 hours. Endgame’s running time of 181 minutes even required theatres to add a number of showings to keep up with the frenzy, something that has never been done for any movie before.
In addition to these stunning numbers, Avengers: Endgame shattered other box office records in its first five days including:
- International gross of $859 million (more than double 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, which earned a total of $443.1 million in non-U.S. ticket sales)
- Single-day gross of $156.7 million in domestic sales, on Friday
- A total of $109 million in Saturday gross (domestic)
- A total of $84.3 million in Sunday gross (domestic)
- A total of $107.8 million during its opening day in China
- A total of $330.5 million in its opening weekend in China
- The biggest sales in IMAX global debut at $91.5 million
- Dubbed as the eighth Marvel Studios movie to generate $1 billion, with Captain Marvel at the seventh spot
The highly anticipated Avengers finale far surpassed its own projections. Based on studio estimates, Endgame had been forecast to generate between $260 million and $300 million in Canadian and U.S. theatres alone. However, box office results show that Endgame exceeded the $257.7 million posted in 2018 by its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War.
Crushing expectations common for Marvel movies
While Endgame greatly thrashed expectations as it cemented itself as one of the most remarkable box office hits of all time, it has been a common trend for Marvel movies to overreach estimated opening earnings. For example, Captain Marvel had a projected opening of $110 million, but the film stood to deliver over $153 million. On the other hand, Avengers: Infinity War ended up making almost $258 million which is also beyond the $200 million estimates by The Hollywood Reporter.
The same observation can be drawn from Thor: Ragnarok which was forecast to earn between $100 million to $110 million but wound up at $120 million. Spider-Man: Homecoming delivered $117 million which was slightly higher than its expected earning of $85 million to $110 million. Regardless of the number of earnings pegged for each film, the final earnings tend to go higher than expected. The MCU continues to go against box office predictions. Will Avengers: Endgame be the same?
With incredible worldwide earnings and a storyline that had strongly pulled at the heartstrings of every fan’s heart, Avengers: Endgame completely raised the bar for superhero films that even future MCU titles will have a tough time exceeding.
While Endgame seemed to have wrapped up the Avengers saga, the MCU is far from over yet. Recently, the internet welcomed the premier of the trailer for the upcoming MCU movie (and the last one in “Phase Three”), Spider-Man: Far From Home which is due for release on July 5. Nothing is said yet of the film’s connection to the overall multiverse.
But Piedmont Media Research projects the earnings of the film at $122 million to $133 million, a couple of thousands higher than the opening gross of Homecoming. This is based on Far From Home’s consumer engagement score and several factors including Homecoming’s screen count, budget, and Rotten Tomatoes Scores.
What’s next after Avengers Endgame?
Marvel Studios has one more film scheduled for release after Endgame and at least six films in different stages of development.
With just a few months left before Far From Home closes the chapter for “Phase 3,” clues surrounding the direction that “Infinity Saga” is likely to take rolls into view. Based on the films in the pipeline, the expiry of the cast’s contracts, happenings in the Marvel Comics, and the striking highlights of Endgame, here’s a glimpse of the fate that may befall on the MCU.
(Note: There will be a very brief discussion of movie plot points in the next paragraphs, including some key events in Avengers: Endgame. Consider this a spoiler alert if you’re not caught up with the Marvel Universe.)
Movies in the horizon
MCU fanatics are in for a solo feature on Marvel’s super as casting is underway for Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson. Picking up from Black Widow’s fate in Endgame, the film might be set before the events that took place before the Avengers finale. Another angle we can consider is seeing a significant story of Black Widow grounded in her own timeline like how the Infinity Stones were gathered.
Sequels for Doctor Strange and Black Panther are also in the works. After his departure, James Gunn returns in the background to complete Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. However, there could be a change in the team provided the turn of events in Endgame. A batch of new characters is joining the MCU. They will be a mix of heroes and villains from the comics series The Eternals. Martial arts hero Shang-Chi is also making his debut.
The MCU is also set to dominate the small screen with the launch of Disney Plus, Disney’s own streaming service. So far, confirmed shows are Loki, Falcon and Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, and WandaVision (featuring the couple Wanda Maximoff and Vision). The shows will feature their respective MCU actors for a reprise of their roles. No further details were released about the series, but the happenings in Endgame could influence the plot of each title. For instance, Falcon’s acceptance of his duty as the Marvel’s newest shield-slinger will likely have an effect on the accomplishment of his mission together with Winter Soldier.
While Endgame left questions unanswered regarding the direction of these projects, it also seemed to shape the solo feature dedicated for Loki. The trickster will likely manipulate some events in history which is in line with how his fate turned out in Endgame.
As we journey further into the MCU through the small screen, we will also see more of Hawkeye as he moulds his protege. Whether he will pass on the baton to his daughter or to another yet-to-be-named young hero is still uncertain.
The recently released trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home teased some tidbits about the future of MCU as well. Nick Fury is seen in Far From Home’s first trailer recruiting Peter Parker for a looming mission. This is an indication of his hand working to manipulate the characters and events in the background. The presence of SHIELD, however, has yet to be revealed.
Based on the events in Endgame, MCU’s core heroes Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor will be absent in the “Phase 4.” Robert Downey Jr.’s made his last performance as the Iron Man in Endgame. However, Marvel Comics has shown various characters in Iron Man’s armour which could mean the passing of that mantle to a new young hero.
We’ve also seen the last of Chris Evans’ Captain America in the latest Avenger movie. Evans confirmed the conclusion of his portrayal in the MCU on his social media towards the final stages of their filming. The actor hinted at his exit from the MCU as his contract doesn’t continue after Endgame.
While the two founding heroes have reached the end of the Marvel tunnel, Chris Hemsworth is not taking a bow yet for his portrayal of Thor. Hemsworth expressed his interest in doing a solo movie after the end of his current contract. A cameo appearance in the Loki series though is very likely.
Other emerging characters include Blade, who was previously portrayed by Wesley Snipes. Rumours have it that Marvel might pass the role to a younger actor; Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone), who was featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 together with his team of Ravagers namely Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), Charlie-27 (Ving Rames), and Mainframe (dubbed by Miley Cyrus). There’s a possibility that these characters could set the direction of the MCU moving forward, knowing that they were the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the history of Marvel Comics.
Expect the revelation of more characters as Marvel introduces The Eternals and unveils more of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The former alone is a rich universe consisting of diverse characters. This leaves more corners for Marvel Comics to explore. Evans and Downey Jr. may have quaked the MCU following their departure, but the rising up of remaining characters (Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel) along with the development of supporting casts opens up exciting possibilities for MCU.