Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War is expected to earn an estimated $235 million during its opening weekend, which is a new record for the studio, according to multiple reports. But that’s just the beginning of what could be a historic box office performance. The hype and the excitement for this movie has been building since the first Avengers back in 2012 — and it’s only increased since Black Panther hit theaters last month.
Simply put, there’s never been anything remotely like Avengers: Infinity War in the history of Hollywood.
By the completion of its theatrial run, Avengers: Infinity War will eclipse all-time box office record of $937 million, currently held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That’s a bold statement, but there’s plenty of evidence to back it up.
The first Avengers movie was a behemoth at the box office. It holds MCU’s records for best opening weekend at $207 million, and best overall domestic total at $623 million (it’s also the fifth biggest domestic film of all-time). However, Infinity War is a much, much bigger film: it contains an incredible cast, delivers a super-villain who’s haunted the MCU since the first Avengers film, and builds upon the enormous success of Black Panther.
Additionally, Avengers: Infinity War will pay off a decade of promises and setups. The core story in Avengers: Infinity War merges every character and movie spanning the first decade of the MCU, completes the storylines for several existing characters and franchises, and also promises massive change across the board.
The threat and promise of change in the MCU — including one or more (rumored) character deaths — will certainly create controversy, and provide another avenue for fan reaction that should dominate the Internet for months.
Finally, Avengers: Infinity War will appeal to different segments of the audience for a variety different reasons. While Star Wars has always told a linear story, even if it played out in a non-linear fashion, the Avengers represents a narrative spine that connects multiple, independent MCU storylines. Although many Marvel fans have seen every movie to-date, many casual viewers might only align with one or two MCU franchises, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, which kind of exists on its own plane. Infinity War‘s all-encompassing storyline should have the juice to drag every possible Marvel fan into theaters.
The challenge for the filmmakers is deciding how much screen-time is available to each character, given the vast roster in this film.
Ultimately, surpassing the incredible domestic box-office record held by The Force Awakens will be a huge challenge for Avengers: Infinity War. Star Wars built their audience over four decades, compared to the MCU’s single decade of existence. However, over this recent span Marvel has rolled out 20 superhero movies to Star Wars‘ 4 films (if you count Solo, which comes out this May), and given the momentum built by Black Panther, it’s easy to see the potential for Infinity War to blow the lid off The Force Awakens records. All of them.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27, 2018.