New Delhi: Marvel Studios’ latest superhero film, Avengers: Endgame, is poised to break box office records in India, where it will debut on Friday morning across more than 2,600 screens, the highest ever for a Hollywood film.
On Thursday evening, ticketing platform BookMyShow reported that it had sold more than 2.5 million tickets, the highest advance ticket sale for a Hollywood film on the platform.
Trade analysts said the film had broken pre-booking records of some of Bollywood’s most-anticipated releases such as Thugs of Hindostan and Tiger Zinda Hai, and is second only to Bahubali 2: The Conclusion, the highest grossing Indian film.
The demand for tickets has been so high that moviegoers have snapped up tickets for shows as early as 5.35am. Some theatres will run shows as late as 3.40am in Mumbai.
“I’m an ardent Avengers fan and now that it is coming to an end I cannot miss it," said Janish Paul, 27, who works at an IT firm in Bengaluru. After failing to score tickets throughout the weekend at multiplexes, Paul has booked a ticket in a single-screen theatre for a Sunday show. “I don’t want to wait any longer because people will start sharing spoilers on social media platforms."
Alok Tandon, chief executive of theatre chain INOX Leisure Ltd, said the shows had almost sold out across India for the weekend. Even the weekday advances were selling out fast, he said. “The first-day advance sales have been unprecedented and have already exceeded the first-day footfalls of Avengers: Infinity War. We will be utilizing more than 90% of our screens over the weekend for Avengers: Endgame," he said.
Avengers: Endgame is set to become India’s biggest Hollywood release and is estimated to generate as much as ₹250 crore in ticket sales, Mint reported on Thursday.
“The buzz around Endgame is super solid," said film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar. “Disney has played smart in distributing the film and ticket prices, though higher, are unlikely to pinch." An average multiplex ticket has risen to ₹275 from ₹175, while premium seats cost ₹1,500-1,700.
“As of now, even the earliest shows are clocking 60-70% occupancy," added Johar, who predicted the film would rake in ₹50 crore on Friday itself.
The film could collect a total of ₹150 crore over the weekend, Johar said, adding that would be the highest for a Hollywood film in India.
Advance bookings for the film were “ferocious and enormous", said Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive of PVR Pictures Ltd, India’s largest multiplex chain. “We were aware that Endgame was going to be huge; it is not only meeting expectations, but exceeding it," he said. Shows were almost sold out for the first three days of its release, he added. PVR has dedicated 70% of its 768 screens to Endgame, the highest allocation for a Hollywood film.
Multiplex chain INOX Leisure reported pre-bookings of 700,000 tickets for the weekend. The chain with screens across India said it would be running shows late into the night in states that had granted permission.
Earlier this week, multiplex chains received clearance from authorities in Maharashtra and Gujarat to run late-night shows of the film.
The buildup to the film the world over has been frenzied as Marvel’s favourite superheroes fight the evil demigod, Thanos, in the film that runs a little over three hours. The film, which debuted in China on 24 April, collected more than $107 million at the box office on the first day of its release.
In India, dubbed versions of the film in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu will also be screened in theatres.
In Bengaluru, home to five of the country’s 15 IMAX theatres, a premium large-screen format, the bulk of the tickets are priced between ₹600 and ₹700, but are almost fully booked already.
3D shows of the film are running in as many as 61 theatres in the city. Out of them, around 25 are fully booked and the rest are filling up fast, according to BookMyShow data.
Theatres are filling up fast even for the dubbed version of the movie. Distributor Walt Disney roped in Telugu actor Rana Daggubati and Tamil superstar Vijay Sethupathi to do the dubbing in regional languages, apart from a Hindi theme song by India’s only Oscar-winning composer, A.R. Rahman, Mint reported on Wednesday.
Devang Sampat, head of strategy at theatre chain Cinepolis India, said Avengers: Endgame had seen the biggest advance booking since Bahubali 2 in 2017.
“We have seen 90% advance booking for the weekends. But weekdays too, there is a huge amount of bookings that’s come in," he said.
To ensure that services were glitch-free, the staff had been given compensatory offs prior to and after the weekend, he added.
To cash in on footfalls, INOX Leisure has curated special Avengers-themed food items such as Black Widow masala coke, Iron Man nachos and Captain America caramel and cheese popcorn. For late-night screenings, coffee and snack combos will also be available.
Nidheesh M.K. in Bengaluru, Rashmi Menon in Mumbai and Saumya Tewari in New Delhi contributed to this story.