New Delhi: Disney’s superhero film Avengers: Infinity War is all set for a theatrical opening in India this Friday. The Anthony and Jon Russo directed flick that features a galaxy of actors playing nearly every character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, opened advance bookings in the country on Sunday, nearly three days before most Hindi or Hollywood movies.

Online ticketing site BookMyShow said it had clocked advance sales of a million tickets, the highest ever for a Hollywood film in India and the second highest after war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion that was released last year.

Digital payments firm Paytm, which sells movie tickets through Paytm Movies, said the film that is set to release in 2D, 3D, 4DX and IMAX versions, had sold out its 4DX and IMAX shows for the entire opening weekend by Sunday evening while the 2D and 3D versions are also seeing great traction.

“The response to ticket bookings for Avengers: Infinity War has been extremely encouraging across formats. And while, as expected, the craze for watching the film on an IMAX screen is huge, the sales have been remarkable even for the 3D format," said Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer-Cinemas, BookMyShow.

Saksena added that the film has clocked the highest day one sales for any Marvel or superhero film till date on its platform, and is expected to have a blockbuster opening this Friday.

According to Paytm, occupancy levels for the film stand at 60% in the top metro cities for Friday alone, and are expected to go up to 80-85% in the coming days. This may be comparable to the average figure of 70% for most anticipated Bollywood films, war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion had registered 96% occupancy on its opening day, Aamir Khan’s Dangal and Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai stood at 90% and 80%, respectively.

Further, the film that is releasing in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, is selling its Hindi shows faster than the English ones, according to Paytm, though the Hindi advance booking started a day after English, on Monday.

“That shows the excitement and acceptance for this film, and for Hollywood in the Hindi belt," said a Paytm spokesperson. “We’re ultimately expecting 45% of the film’s box office to come from English, 45% from Hindi and the remaining 10% from the regional language versions."

The person added that the film was also generating great response from the tier-II and tier-III cities, besides attracting audiences from a broad age group.

“Another superhero film like Spider-Man: Homecoming had 92% of its audiences belonging to less than 24 years of age. But Avengers has a mix of older and younger superhero characters, like Captain America and Doctor Strange so the audience profile ranges from 18 to 35 years," the person said.

Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema said the positive vibe around Avengers was reflected in the fact that there is no major Bollywood movie lined up for release this week and at 2,050 odd screens, the Marvel offering is all set for one of the widest releases ever for a Hollywood film in India. Big-ticket Hollywood offerings like The Jungle Book (2016) and Fast and Furious 8 (2017) had registered screen counts of 1,640 and 1,222, respectively.

To be sure, Disney has gone all out to promote the film in the country. Apart from localizing it with regional language versions, there is also a collaboration with IPL (Indian Premier League) team Kolkata Knight Riders for special merchandise.

While the Avengers franchise in itself is well-known in India, with the previous instalment Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) having made Rs72 crore, the superhero film is also arriving on the back of growing love and acceptance for Hollywood in the country. According to the media and entertainment industry report by lobby group Ficci along with consulting firm EY, the box office collections of Hollywood, inclusive of all regional language dubbed versions, totaled Rs. 801 crore in 2017 as against Rs795 crore in 2016, comprising 13% of the overall movie box office in the country.

“This could be the biggest Hollywood opener in India," Mohan said predicting a Rs20-25 crore on day one and Rs65-70 crore on the opening weekend for the film.

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