What is shaping up to the be the biggest movie of the year will not shape up here first. No, Avengers: Endgame will play in China a full two days before opening in America. This strategy likely sets up studio execs to rake in massive amounts of movie money in the world’s second biggest box office.
With a population of over a billion people, there are plenty of Marvel fans in China. On Friday they were all celebrating the news that Disney’s Avengers: Endgame will open in their country on April 24th, two days before the U.S. gets to see the movie on April 26th. The Marvel franchise is wildly popular in China, as much as or more so than it is here in the place where the characters were created, the United States of America. Looking back on the last Avengers movie, it opened with a record $199.3 million in China in April 2018. That was after already playing in the U.S. for a full two weeks, so with China getting the first look this time around, the accountants are already sharpening their pencils.
The plan is to try to break the magical milestone of half a billion dollars overseas. No Hollywood movie to date has pulled in that kind of money from the burgeoning foreign market. Only three Chinese films have even hit that milestone – Wolf Warrior 2 ($854 million), The Wandering Earth ($663 million and counting) and Operation Red Sea ($576 million) – but Hollywood titles released in that country have yet to even crack $400 million. The biggest U.S. releases to play there are The Fate of the Furious with $392 million, Furious 7 at $390.9 million and Infinity War, which finished at $359.9 million. Avengers: Endgame the 22nd installment in the MCU, is a direct sequel to Infinity War from last year that earned so much money in the foreign market. Marvel’s go-to director duo, Joe and Anthony Russo, shot the films back to back so expectations of breaking the previous Avengers haul may not be misplaced. With Endgame now solidly on the schedule for Wednesday April 24th the timing seems to be more than optimal for the movie to break all previous records.
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The two day window between openings here and there will create an eternity of internet hype that will also propel Endgame’s box office over here. The details of the movie will no doubt leak online as Chinese audiences watch the film in droves. The tight window between the 24th and the 26th will be just enough time for western audiences to hear the good reviews that will no doubt roll in as the film begins showing first overseas.
After the early opening, Endgame’s second weekend in China will overlap with the country’s Labor Day holiday, which grants Chinese students and workers off from Wednesday, May 1 to Saturday, May 4. The stretch of holidays and early release slot mean Endgame is well positioned for a record run in the world’s second-biggest movie market, where Marvel fandom is as fervent as anywhere in the world. This news comes from the Hollywood Reporter