All numbers, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.
Just two weeks ago I made the comment that I never talk about worldwide box office numbers because no one is ever going to catch Avatar, so what would be the point? Flash forward two weeks and now here I am asking the question I never thought I would ask. Can Infinity War catch Avatar? Since the film’s worldwide release, Infinity War has made an estimated $1.6 Billion, which already puts the film in the number 5 spot for the highest grossing film of all-time, and it currently sits less than $70 million away from surpassing Jurrasic World at number 4. With all of these very impressive numbers though, it’s time to dive deep(ish) into the future of Infinity War and find out if catching Avatar is possible.
One of the other reasons I don’t talk about worldwide numbers is simply because I don’t know what’s going to be successful. Famously, THE reason that Star Wars The Force Awakens couldn’t catch Avatar ultimately was China’s disinterest in the film. With Infinity War though, the numbers are in and the Chinese people love Infinity War. With the South China Morning Post reporting that “Infinity War took in an estimated US$77.6 million in Thursday night previews and Friday grosses,” this now sets up Marvel’s big-budget epic to be the first $200 Million plus debut in China ever. Success in China is only the first step to catching Avatar though.
Releasing December 18, 2009, Avatar surprisingly only had a week to enjoy the lack of competition. Nearly everything in the top 5 when Avatar was released had been in theaters for multiple weeks. The theaters were desperate for something new, but the next week was Christmas and with Avatar bringing in a respectable $77 Million opening weekend, it would make sense that the following week with such films as Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel would bite into the film’s $77 Million opening… but it didn’t. In fact, it didn’t drop at all. Avatar’s second week at the box office only saw a $2 Million drop.
After that, at least in the United States, the film wouldn’t face any kind of competition until it’s 5th week in the box office going up against The Book of Eli. The film still held strong, beating the Denzel lead film by $10 Million. It wouldn’t be until Avatar’s 8th week when the slayer of dragon’s himself Channing Tatum with his film Dear John would finally knock Avatar from its perch. Hilariously though, it wouldn’t be until Avatar’s 13th week at the box office before it finally fell out of the top 5. WOW!
So what does this mean for Infinity War? What competition does it have coming over the horizon? Well, unlike Avatar, Infinity War’s first challenger comes by way of Deadpool 2. For the 3 of you unaware, Deadpool 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the 2016’s surprise superhero hit. See, unlike Avatar which really didn’t have anything even remotely close to fitting in its own genre, releasing a big budget sci-fi film right before January will do that, Infinity War has not one but two big-budget genre films, the other we’ll touch on in a moment, heading its way. And with the Infinity War reportedly bringing in just under $70 Million in its 3rd domestic week, Deadpool 2 would simply be a colossal failure if it failed to surpass that amount. The question is, how much will Deadpool hurt Infinity War? Could it drop to $30 Million? Lower? Higher?
Even if Infinity War manages to survive Deadpool’s almost certain strong opening weekend, the following weekend will bring the Han Solo movie, Solo. Now, with two big-budget genre films on the market, Infinity War’s strong run, at least domestically, will most certainly be gone. Based on the percentage change that Infinity War has shown over its first 3 weekends of roughly 50% (I know, I don’t like numbers like this either), we can take a shot in the dark and guess (and I do mean guess) that by Infinity War’s 5th domestic week, it’s made another $80 Million. That’s including the weekday numbers. This would put Infinity War roughly at $627 Million, which would put it all-time domestically at number 6 and only a few pennies away from surpassing Jurassic World, a feat I already mentioned Infinity War should be able to accomplish. That’s right, it would pass it worldwide, but not domestically… I had to take a step back when I wrote that too.
So with this giant info dump of numbers, what we’ve come to realize domestically is that, because of competition, Infinity War is going to end up behind Black Panther at the number 4 spot. In terms of worldwide box office though, like I said earlier, big markets like China haven’t typically fallen in love with Star Wars and it’s actually taken two years for the original Deadpool to finally make it’s debut in the country as well. In other words, when it comes to the worldwide box office numbers, the sky really is the limit and ironically, the film’s “low” box office numbers domestically are what could ultimately keep the film from achieving its goal of catching Avatar. Had the film released earlier in the year with less competition like Black Panther, then this goal could have been reached. As for now though, it looks like Marvel’s hopes of taking James Cameron’s number one worldwide spot rests on the shoulders of moviegoers from around the world.