The best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have assembled for the last time, and they are destroying the competition — even before hitting US movie theaters.
"Avengers: Endgame," the last in a 22-film arc featuring the beloved Marvel Universe superheroes, shattered records upon its release in Asia, specifically in China, Disney — which owns Marvel Studios — announced Thursday.
The movie raked in $169 million on Wednesday, its first day of release in 25 markets including China, Australia and several countries in Europe.
It set single-day box office records in China, Australia, New Zealand and other countries, said Disney, which bought Marvel Studios in 2009.
The film's performance in China was impressive — $107.5 million.
In India, BookMyShow said advance sales had exceeded $2.5 million, and some cinemas in the usually Bollywood-mad country are planning around-the-clock screenings.
"It is the biggest craze we have seen for a Hollywood film... The demand is ferocious... As far as IMAX is concerned, it is unprecedented. This is the first time a film is sold out all days of the first week even before a single show has played out. Almost the entire week is sold out," said Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures.
The record for the highest opening for a Hollywood movie in India is held by "Avengers: Infinity War", which earned $5.7 million ( ₹40 crore) on the opening day. However, the inaugural weekend figures of its follow-up, "Endgame" are being pegged to go beyond $5.7 million ( ₹50 crore).
In France, "Endgame" scored the biggest opening day for a Marvel film. It set an overall opening day record in the Netherlands, Greece and Egypt.
The figures indicate that "Endgame" will surpass the receipts generated by the previous episode in the "Avengers" saga — "Infinity War" — which came out last year, it added.
The film will go into wide release in the United States and Canada on Friday, with showings in select cities from Thursday.
Experts predict the well-reviewed "Avengers" finale — featuring Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and a raft of other stars — could make $200-260 million in its opening weekend in North America.
The film clocks runs just about three hours, leading US movie chain powerhouse AMC to schedule showings around the clock in several dozen cinemas to satisfy demand from moviegoing fans.
Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar worldwide opening in history.
The 21 preceding films — featuring many of the comic book heroes created by the late legend Stan Lee — have earned about $19 billion globally.