Avengers: Endgame earned an astonishing $1.2 billion in its opening weekend

Disney’s latest blockbuster has smashed box office records, pulling in an astonishing $1.2 billion globally in its opening weekend, according to Variety. It’s the eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to cross the billion-dollar mark, and it’s the fastest any film has ever earned that much.

The film topped The Force Awaken’s opening day record with a $305 million global box office (it pulled in $60 million in the US) on Thursday, and went on to earn around $300 million in the US.

Disney’s franchise films have steadily dominated the box offices in recent years. Star Wars: The Force Awakens set records in 2015 with a $517 million haul worldwide on its opening weekend, Black Panther drew in $426 million on its opening weekend (and quickly hit the $1 billion mark), while last year’s Avengers: Infinity War earned $630 million on its opening weekend and became the fastest movie ever to cross the $1 billion mark.

Notably, Endgame’s numbers are helped this time around by the Chinese box office, pulled in an estimated $329 million during its opening weekend. This wasn’t the case with last year’s Avengers: Infinity War — it premiered in China a couple of weeks later. Endgame also isn’t the only Disney film to join that club this year: Captain Marvel crossed the line earlier this month.

This success at the box office didn’t happen overnight — it’s an enormous payoff for Marvel’s superhero franchise, which kicked off 11 years ago with Iron Man. That film included an end-credits scene that opened up the possibility of the larger, interconnected universe which has since played out over 22 films. Avengers: Endgame is the fruit of a decade’s worth of labor for that larger story, building on the characters and stories that came with each film.

Now, Disney faces a new landscape for its post-Endgame future. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said that they’re working on at least 20 films “that are completely different from anything that’s come before.” Presumably, the company hopes that the next generation of superhero films will also come with similar, sky-high returns in the decade to come.

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