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Thanos’ box office invasion reached China this weekend with spectacular results, as Disney reported that “Avengers: Infinity War” earned a stunning $200 million from its opening weekend in the major moviegoing market.
According to currency conversion rates, this is the second-highest opening in Chinese box office history behind only last year’s “The Fate of the Furious.” It’s also the sixth highest opening weekend in a single market in global box office history.
This smashes the previous China opening record for a Marvel film, sitting 28 percent ahead of the $156 million made by “Avengers: Age of Ultron” three years ago. It also eclipses the entire Chinese run of “Captain America: Civil War,” which made $180 million in 2016.
This success is due in part to China’s rapidly growing movie theater infrastructure, which provided enough theaters and showtimes to accommodate over 200,000 screenings of “Infinity War” on Friday and Saturday, according to data from EntGroup.
Premium screenings from 514 IMAX locations accounted for roughly 10 percent of the Marvel crossover’s entire haul this weekend with $20.5 million, which shatters the IMAX China record of $13.5 million for “The Fate of the Furious.” That makes “Infinity War” the highest grossing Marvel in IMAX history with $118 million worldwide and the fifth-highest among all releases.
While “Star Wars” has failed to bridge the cultural gap in China — mostly because that franchise’s original trilogy came out during the Cultural Revolution — “Avengers” films have truly become the biggest global event release in cinema today.
As China Film Insider’s Jonathan Papish told TheWrap this past week, solo superhero films, while still posting solid numbers, seem to have hit their ceiling. But films like “Avengers” that offer a plethora of superheroes are just as big in China as anywhere else in the world. This, combined with the film’s cliffhanger ending, should set the stage for more massive returns when “Avengers 4” arrives next summer. And given the series’ popularity, one should take Disney CEO Bob Iger at his word when he says that future “Avengers” films aren’t being ruled out.
As noted in our domestic box office report, this Chinese opening — which contributed the lion’s share of the $343 million “Avengers” earned worldwide this weekend — puts the global total for “Infinity War” at $1.6 billion, passing the $1.51 billion made by the first “Avengers” in 2012 to become the biggest superhero release of all-time and the fifth-highest grossing film in box office history. “Infinity War” is roughly $70 million away from passing “Jurassic World” and becoming the biggest summer release in movie history. It should reach that mark by next weekend at the latest.
This also means that “Infinity War” is $400 million away from becoming only the third film ever to earn $2 billion in its initial run. Though “Avengers” will face tough box office competition moving forward with “Deadpool 2” coming next weekend and “Solo” the weekend after, “Avengers” is expected to remain the blockbuster of choice in China until “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” comes out in June.