The galaxy has a new ruler.
Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War kicked off the summer box office in high style over the weekend, opening to a record-setting $250 million in North America and $380 million overseas for a global total of $630 million, the top worldwide debut of all time. The superhero mashup accomplished the feat without China, where it doesn’t unfurl until May 11.
Fellow Disney title Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) was the previous record holder for biggest domestic bow, while Universal’s The Fate of the Furious had held the record for biggest global start ($541.9 million).
Infinity War‘s box-office victory was aided by the biggest Saturday of all time in North America ($83 million), as well as the biggest Sunday (an estimated $61 million), reflecting powerful word of mouth. The tentpole cost close to $300 million to produce before a major marketing spend.
Directed by the Russo brothers, Avengers: Infinity War is the most ambitious amassing of superheroes ever on the big screen and comes as Marvel Studios — led by Kevin Feige — celebrates its 10th anniversary. In 2009, Walt Disney Co. chief Bob Iger paid $4 billion to acquire Marvel Entertainment, even though many of the superhero characters in Marvel’s stable were unproven.
“Marvel spent 10 years methodically and carefully creating a universe of characters, worlds and stories that all led to this and, in doing so, created an event unlike anything the business has ever seen,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis as he prepares to exit the top post and turn his job over to studio veteran Catleen Taff.
“We have been sitting here all weekend in astonishment,” added Taff.
Infinity War is the first film to be shot entirely with Imax cameras. Imax theaters in turn delivered $41 million of the total worldwide gross, the biggest showing ever for a Marvel title. The U.S. share was $22.5 million.
Infinity War follows the massive success of Marvel’s Black Panther, a cultural phenomenon and fanboy darling that currently ranks as the top-grossing superhero film of all time in North America with $688 million in ticket sales. The titular character, played by Chadwick Boseman, appears in the Avengers film and was no doubt a boost for Infinity War.
In a surprise twist, interest in Black Panther — now in its 11th weekend — once again spiked as Infinity War debuted. Black Panther moved back up the chart from No. 8 to No. 5, earning $4.4 million.
Marvel Studios is unrivaled in its success, now boasting six of the top 10 opening weekends of all time. The Avengers ($207.4 million) previously held the mark for the biggest superhero launch, followed by Black Panther ($202 million). They are the only other superhero titles to have crossed $200 million in their first weekend.
Infinity War also continues Disney’s domination at the box office. The studio has bragging rights to nine of the 10 biggest domestic openings, including the top three; Infinity War, Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million). Universal’s Jurassic World ($208.8 million) is No. 4.
(Excerpt) Read More in: The Hollywood Reporter