US Box Office Report: 26/04/19 – 28/04/19

Capitalism reaches its Endgame, and I guess there’s Other Box Office News but who really cares.

Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).

…and we’re back from our own dusting just in time to witness Avengers: Endgame make ALL THE MOTHERFUCKING MONEY IN THE WORLD EVER.  An outcome you perhaps already saw coming, but I don’t think any of us predicated the exact mega-insane extent of its domination.  Endgame, and this write-up is still based on estimates because official Sunday totals hadn’t come in by the time I penned this so it could be even higher, made $350 million across those first three days in the US.  Because that is obviously the biggest opening weekend for a movie in America ever, since the previous record holder was Infinity War with $257.69 million, allow me to put it into better context: Endgame’s opening weekend alone is more than the combined totals of everything from the past three weekends.  No, seriously, the math checks out by just over $5.5 million.  Even with the caveat that the scales were effectively tipped in Endgame’s favour by special 24-hour cinema arrangements and Endgame’s theatre count being the largest in film history (ripping the title away from Despicable Me 3 of all things), that is truly astonishing.

With a statistic such as that, it may seem redundant to list off all of the actual records Endgame managed to slay like so much [REDACTED DUE TO SPOILER POLICE].  But there’s really not much of anything else to discuss even with the four week break we took, so in no particular order say hello to your new record holder for:

  • Largest Thursday preview gross ($60 million), beating out The Force Awakens’ paltry $57 million
  • Largest Friday, period ($156.7 million), again beating out The Force Awakens’ $119.1 million
  • Largest Saturday ($109 million) and Largest Sunday ($84.3 million as of time of writing), both previously held by Infinity War ($82.1 million and $69.2 million respectively)
  • Highest single market share of any film in a particular weekend (90%), inherited from Age of Ultron in 2015 (84.5%)
  • Highest per-theatre average of any film in wide release ($75,075), smashing Force Awakens’ $59,982, and the 65th best of all-time regardless of size (being the only film in the Top 100 with a result from more than 31 screens)
  • Largest April, Spring, and PG-13 opening weekends ever, all titles that were Infinity War’s just 12 months ago
  • Fastest movie to $100 million (one day, tying Force Awakens), $150 million (one day, besting Infinity War with two), $200 million (two days, best IW’s three), $250 million (tying IW with three days), $300 million and $350 million (besting Force Awakens which took five and six days respectively)

But remaining America-centric only tells a fraction of the story.  For Endgame was truly a global event of the kind we will likely never see again and so, largely down to Marvel not making the same mistake from Infinity War and releasing day-and-date in China, you are now looking at the first movie ever to make $1 billion in its first global weekend of release.  Scratch that, the first movie ever to exceed $1 billion in its first global weekend of release (occurring over five days due to international disparity) because Endgame’s international opening, which counts for all markets except Russia (where it opened yesterday), came to $859 million.  Again, obviously a record-breaking performance since the previous champion, The Fate of the Furious, claimed that accolade with chump change of $443 million.  China naturally led the way with $330.5 million, the largest five-day opening weekend ever in the country and which already makes Endgame the #4 non-local film ever there.  And for our UK readership, since this is a UK-based pop culture website after all: $53.8 million, allegedly the biggest opening weekend for any film in the country ever.

Overall, that’s $1.2 billion made in the span of five days, which is stupid money and will likely never be truly equalled so I hope investors in Disney and rival studios make peace with this fact rather than getting unrealistic expectations about replication.  Now to have one of my periodic peeks back onto Film Twitter to see what funny gags and memes people are ma-OH GOD NO THAT WAS A MISTAKE ABORT ABORT ABO-


We’re gonna bring back the Full List.  Whatever it takes.

US Box Office Results: Friday 26th April 2019 – Sunday 28th April 2019

1] Avengers: Endgame

$350,000,000 / NEW

Dave Bond turned around a really strong and completely spoiler-free review in record goddamn time, so go shower him in page views and likes for his efforts.  I, meanwhile, crapped out a brief little fluff piece about how we will never see another movie like Endgame ever again (and inarguably never should), so go read that if you feel like you want to, I won’t judge if you don’t.

2] Captain Marvel

$8,051,000 / $413,580,047

Despite the fact that this film is rapidly approaching double digits in theatrical release (this is its eighth week), Captain Marvel only dipped 11.6% between these past two weekends.  For comparison, Shazam! entered its fourth week of release and, in the face of Endgame, collapsed 66.5% between weekends.  Yikes.

3] The Curse of La Llorona

$7,500,000 / $41,284,301

A 71.5% drop between opening and sophomore weekends cements the impression that this only did OK last week because everyone needed to find some way to kill time pre-Endgame, and now it can return to the depths from whence it came.  Given her frequent appearances in all kinds of shit (both the noun and descriptive variants) over the last year, Linda Cardellini’s agent either needs firing or a raise, I can’t quite decide yet.

4] Breakthrough

$6,304,000 / $26,114,230

In an effort to stay above the muckraking of Film Twitter, I will say that Endgame breaking a shitload of records does excite me as a nerd who loves watching records fall and charting the history of Box Office statistics – why else would I do this exercise most weeks?  But I also know that its mega-monolithic performance is actually quite bad given that Hollywood execs will learn the wrong lessons from it – since they always learn the wrong lessons from giant successes; R-rated Hellboy was just a fortnight ago, believe it or not – the profits of Endgame will most likely not be divested back into smaller or mid-budget movies, and it gives Disney greater bullish license to demand greater cuts from and restrictions on theatres exhibiting their big event films in the future (which is something they’ve been publicly doing with increasing maliciousness since at least The Last Jedi), all of which hurt us moviegoers.  But I also also know that smugly shaming the common moviegoer and cropping up with these takes as soon as the news broke like acid rain on a parade is basic as all fuck.  Read the room, find a new angle, don’t shame, and quit infighting.  We need a united front against Tom Hooper’s Cats!

5] Shazam!

$5,520,000 / $131,149,727

I guess I don’t know children after all.  Shame, cos Shazam! is probably the best movie of the year so far?  In the sense that, unlike my favourite movies of the year so far – of which it does still have a place alongside Endgame and Us – it’s not a mess in any way.  Just an excellently constructed, heartfelt, super-entertaining and legitimately surprising throwback to classic family filmmaking from the late-80s, like if Joe Dante directed a comic book movie.  Tawny Farber’s got the five-star praise if you need somebody else to get your butt through the door.

6] Little

$3,438,000 / $35,846,255

This was good and all, but I think I would’ve liked it better if it were instead a movie adaptation of this Garfunkel & Oates song.

7] Dumbo

$3,239,000 / $107,005,558

Going to say the same thing here that I did when Marvel made an entire side-plot in the original Ant-Man about their hegemony with White guy superheroes instead of spotlighting capable and fun women: OK, Disney, I get it.  You’re self-aware about the fact you’re a giant corporate monolith buying up independent filmmakers and studios to absorb into your anonymous nostalgia-cannibalising empire.  It’s not as cute as you think it is.  In fact, it’s rather insufferable.  If you’re aware enough of yourself to recognise you’re the problem, then you’re also aware enough to do something about it.  And the new Dumbo sucks even with that self-critique, by the way.

8] Pet Sematary

$1,290,000 / $52,612,457

Set the Tape’s staff has been sharply divided on this one.  Our official reviewer very much enjoyed what they saw, calling it “tense and creepy.”  Brooker, by contrast, has been trying for weeks to pitch a listicle of Stephen King adaptations sos he can tear this new Pet Sematary a new one.  So, let’s call it mixed reviews.

9] Us

$1,141,000 / $172,844,635

Second viewing confirmed this as a five-star film for me, albeit borderline since the wider social metaphor still doesn’t quite track like I think Peele wants it to.  (Or, in more critical terms, you can tell this was written from concept to shooting in just under a year.)  Movie’s so good that even a non-stop chittering and laughing couple couldn’t detract fully from its charms.  That said, those guys were fucking assholes and if you act like them in the cinema, regardless of how many weeks after a film’s initial opening said screening is, you’re also a fucking asshole.  Still, got a tingle of pleasure when my eventual snapping at them after an hour to shut up gave them a proper jump-scare-type jolt which hushed them for the rest of the movie, not gonna lie.

10] Penguins

$1,051,000 / $5,721,426

Penguins are adorable.  That is all I have to say.

Dropped out: Missing Link, Hellboy

Callum Petch got lost in your DMs.

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