INTERNATIONAL - “Avengers: Infinity War” kicked off the summer movie season, giving Walt Disney Co. the largest North American and global debuts in history.
“Infinity War” took in a record $630 million worldwide, ComScore Inc. said in an email Sunday. An estimated that $250 million was collected in U.S. and Canadian theatres, beating independent forecasts of about $230 million.
The blockbuster film also earned $380 million overseas, where it has opened almost everywhere worldwide, Disney said. One notable exception is China, where it debuts May 11.
Opening in more than 4,470 North American theatres, “Avengers: Infinity War” marks the widest debut for a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. Rivals avoided the weekend, meaning the Marvel superhero mash-up faced no competition from other new releases.
The film is one of five summer movies from Disney that are all likely to be popular. The Burbank, California-based company is already far ahead of rivals this year thanks to the $1 billion-plus generated by “Black Panther,” a fresh hit from the company’s Marvel superhero library.
Disney had 26 percent of the domestic box office heading into the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. The company’s summer slate, which includes another Marvel movie and “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” will be key in reviving the North American box office and generating growth for theater owners after a tough 2017.
Disney has distributed eight of the top 10 biggest domestic debuts of all time, and “Infinity War” ranks first on the list, followed by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The worldwide opening of the new Avengers movie also notches the top spot.
While Disney began with a more cautious forecast of $210 million for the three-day opening weekend, the company on Friday raised that estimate to $225 million. Independent forecasters were more bullish on “Infinity War.” Analysts at Box Office Pro were predicting as much as $255 million in domestic weekend sales.
“Infinity War” cost $300 million to make, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, and many tens of millions more to market.
In this installment, the superheroes mount an all-out effort to defeat Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, who is seeking to collect six Infinity Stones. The fate of Earth and existence itself hang in the balance.
The movie features the return of popular actors such as Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, as well as Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. It is the first of a two-part superhero mash-up, with the second installment expected to land next year.
Critical reviews weren’t as strong as those for other Marvel films, which led analysts to say that could affect how the movie performs in coming weeks.
Only 76% of top critics gave it positive reviews, compared with 85 percent of all critical reviews aggregated by Rottentomatoes.com.
That’s a lower rating than the first “Avengers” movie in 2012 or “Black Panther.” Metacritic, another review tracker, had 68 positive reviews, fewer than the tally for “Black Panther” but more than 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” at 66.