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Avengers: Infinity War is now in theaters, and the biggest film of the year in arguably the biggest franchise ever is poised to dominate the box office. There is no question that Infinity War will make millions of dollars this weekend, the only questions are how many times over, as well as what films and records will fall to the might of Thanos. Like the movie itself, Infinity War got off to a fast start at the box office last night, scoring a whopping $39 million in Thursday night preview screenings. That number was the best ever preview showing for a Marvel movie.
To put that into perspective, the film that Infinity War beat for the Marvel preview record was the last Avengers film, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which scored over $10 million less with $27.6 million when it was released in 2015. This preview showing performance puts Infinity War at #4 on the all-time preview showing scorecard. What could have possibly done better in preview showings than a movie as big as this? Well, the answer is wizards, of both the English and space variety. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opened with $43.5 million in previews, Star Wars: The Last Jedi scored $45 million and Star Wars: The Force Awakens holds the record at $57 million.
Besting every other Marvel movie with $39 million is nothing to sneeze at, but as noted by Deadline, earlier box office forecasts had guessed that the film could open with as much as $45 million or more, although some pegged it at only making $36-$38 million. Predictions for the weekend as a whole have pegged the cosmic clash at coming in around $216-$235 million domestically en route to a $478-$498 million worldwide opening bow. It is still too early to know exactly where it will land, but the movie has a lot going for it and should have no problem making back its sizable budget. The ceiling on Infinity War's domestic performance this weekend is super high, as it is playing in an astounding 4,474 theaters. That makes Infinity War Disney's widest release ever and the second widest release overall behind only Despicable Me 3's 4,529.
The buzz and conversation around this film should drive repeat business as well. As soon as I got out of Infinity War I wanted to figure out when I could see it again, and I imagine I'm not alone in that sentiment. The only impediment for some may be finding tickets that aren't sold out. On top of all the amazing set pieces and fun character interactions, which all Marvel movies have, it is really the ending on this one that necessitates multiple viewings. After the credits rolled, everyone just sits there in stunned silence, slack-jawed and wondering what just happened, before being treated to a killer end-credits scene. People will be talking about Infinity War a lot and definitely want to see it again.