Marvel Studio has unveiled the second trailer for Avengers: Endgame, and it’s safe to say that the Internet is losing its collective mind. We can’t blame folks—the film is 11 years in the making and the culmination of 21 movies’ worth of storytelling and more than $18 billion in worldwide box-office grosses. Speaking of the box office, how much money should we expect Endgame to haul in (besides “all the money”)?
Here, a few possible scenarios, from the worst to the best to the most realistic. (And after seeing the movie, here’s how we’d compare it to other contemporary franchise conclusions this century).
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the rare blockbuster behemoth in which each of its standalone sequels has outgrossed its direct predecessor. It is the single-most consistently successful creation in Hollywood history and, as such, Endgame will not come anywhere close to this worst-case scenario. But, for the purposes of this exercise, let’s examine how it might underachieve.
Amid arguably the most colossus spring/summer blockbuster movie season in history and an overall downturn in box-office dollars thus far through 2019, fans could start to suffer from blockbuster fatigue. The so-so Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) opened nearly eight percent lower than The Avengers (2012). If we apply the same second-time-around drop-off to Endgame in comparison to Infinity War, we get a domestic opening of around $235 million—still one of the biggest ever.
Assuming that carries over to the film’s legs, let’s apply a domestic multiplier—the multiple of the film’s final gross to its debut numbers—closer to Ultron‘s 2.4x than the original’s 3.0x. At 2.5x, we get a final North American total of $587.5 million. Since all three Avengers films have collected at least 60 percent of its worldwide gross from foreign markets, we’re probably looking at a worldwide total of anywhere from “just” $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion.
But honestly, that’s not going to happen.
Let’s keep this one short and simple: The best-case scenario for Avengers: Endgame is to top Avatar‘s world-record of $2.78 billion in global gross. Can that happen? Yes. Is it likely? No.
This summer will feature a string of massive blockbusters that will make it difficult to reach such lofty heights. Endgame is going to be a massive financial success, but with the likes of Detective Pikachu, John Wick: Chapter 3, Aladdin, Godzilla: King of Monsters and a deluge of other biggies close on its heels, it will be hard for it to take the top spot.
Box office tracker Exhibitor Relations predicts a record-breaking opening of $282 million in North American ticket sales, which would shatter the previous high ($258 million) set by Infinity War last year. Per Boxoffice.com, early tracking projections are looking at a $265 million opening. CNBC analysts made an early projection of $600 million domestic and around $2 billion worldwide when all is said and done, which sounds about right.
Let’s split the difference between the opening projections and say the film will have a $273 million debut. If it plays like Infinity War (2.6x)—which many expect it to given the similar concluding chapter marketing efforts—we’re looking at a final domestic total of around $710 million (Infinity War earned $679 million in North America). If we assume the roughly 35/65 domestic versus foreign splits of the past two Avengers films hold steady, we’re now looking at an overseas take of $1.3 billion for a combined worldwide total of just north of $2 billion. That would place Endgame among the four highest-grossing films of all time—and it could rank even higher. There’s considerable upside here that a Jurassic World or Fast & Furious films just doesn’t possess.
These are rough estimates, but based on previous franchise history, professional tracking and projections numbers, you can see how it all makes sense.
We won’t have to wait much longer to see what the movie actually pulls in—Avengers: Endgame hits theaters April 26.