The Marvel Universe didn't need another major hit to prove its popularity, but it got one anyway. Avengers: Infinity War broke box office records, opening to $250 million in North America and $380 million overseas. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the combined $630 million worldwide total is the top opening weekend in history, taking the title from its previous holder, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The massive ticket sales for the movie represent a landmark moment for Marvel, a studio that has consistently produced the top superhero movies over the last decade.
The MCU is home to some of the genre's most beloved characters, from Iron Man to Black Panther. Infinity War brings these heroes together on an unprecedented scale, featuring the likes of the Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Gamora, and Loki all fighting against a common enemy. Marvel fans were on board for the heroes (and villains) to unite, and they showed up in record numbers to see the MCU come together in a single film. As reported by THR, the movie has the highest-earning Saturday on record for North America.
Infinity War isn't the first superhero success from directors the Russo Brothers. They are also the team behind Captain America: Civil War. It is a landmark achievement for Marvel Studios, however, which was bought by Disney in 2009, and will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary. The release follows the critical and box office success of Black Panther, which is largely considered one of the best films set in the MCU, as well as a significant cultural achievement.
The star-studded film definitely owes a lot of the box-office earnings to the presence of the other high-profile castmembers, as well. In addition to the Black Panther stars, the movie features Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Don Cheadle as War Machine, and Mark Ruffalo as Hulk. Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper also make appearances as their Guardians of the Galaxy characters. The film brought together almost every beloved hero from recent years, and created a true movie event in the process.
It will take a few weeks to determine whether or not Avengers: Infinity War will take over as the top-grossing superhero movie in the United States, a title that currently belongs to Black Panther. The mega-hit is in its 11th week, and has resulted in over $688 million in ticket sales. Interestingly enough, the crowds coming out for Infinity War provided an additional boost in ticket sales for Mrvel's other major superhero hit of 2018, and, according to THR, the film moved back up in the weekend box office charts.
The record-breaking box office moment for Infinity War shows how far Marvel has come over the past decade. When Disney bought the rights to the cinematic universe almost ten years ago, the franchise only featured a few major heroes, like Iron Man and Captain America. The studio added many new heroes — often focusing on more obscure comic book characters — and developed their stories over the course of multiple years, amassing a dedicated fandom following in the process.
The recent financial success also demonstrates the value of investing in the stories audiences want to hear. In recent years, superhero films have started to make a greater effort to better reflect and represent audiences. Marvel's film casts are starting to have greater inclusivity and feature more women heroes, and as representation improves, the studio is likely to see even more positive numbers at the box office.
While the massive cast of Infinity War might seem like a finale for the company, there are plenty more films coming from the MCU, including major sequels for Ant-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming. The highly anticipated Captain Marvel, which stars Brie Larson, is also coming to theaters in 2019. It doesn't look like Marvel's reign in the industry is likely to end soon.