Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchise has been pumping out biggest box-office draws for many years now. So when its latest outing—Avengers Endgame-- hit theatres, it was inevitable that the film was going to be a massive success globally. The only question was: “Just how big will it be at the box office?”
To answer that in the simplest terms; in the span of just one week, the Russo Brothers-directorial went from the most anticipated film of the year to a legitimate phenomenon, and is on track to be the highest-grossing movie of all time.
The film shattered the record for the biggest worldwide opening, pulling down a staggering Rs 52 crore in India and Rs 1,186 crore globally.
Despite being released in just about 2,845 screens in India, the film has surpassed the first week business of some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters of all time, including Dangal, Sanju and Tiger Zinda Hai by collecting Rs 215 crore in just five days.
That’s a lot of money, bolstered by highest advance ticket sales, ever in India. In fact, it is the most money a movie has ever made in India in five days, dethroning the Rs 198.25 crore box office collection that was brought in by Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (Hindi version) in 2017.
What is certainly helping Avengers Endgame make an incredible amount of numbers at the box office in India is the fact that just like Baahubali, it is a larger than life experience which can be enjoyed only on the big screen, explains film trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
“This film emphasises completely on entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. This is not one of those critic-friendly film or metro-centric film. This is a film that caters to the pan India audience and that is eventually the bottom line. It is an eye-opener for all the filmmakers in Mumbai,” said Adarsh.
Avengers: Endgame has also set a record for the fastest film to enter the coveted Rs 100 crore club in India, surpassing the bar that was previously set by Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (Hindi Version), which crossed the Rs 100-crore mark in three days.
Without a doubt, Marvel Studios is giving its films absolutely massive roll-out in the country. Its last two outings-- Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel— also proved to be the cinematic giants at the Indian ticket windows. Infinity War made an impressive Rs 302 crore (lifetime), while Brie Larson-starrer Captain Marvel amassed Rs 82.86 crore within four weeks.
“Over the years, all these superheroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor have built up a solid brand in the country. Now these actors are a brand by themselves, and the fact that it’s a very entertaining movie; all these factors combined together have resulted in a phenomenal response at the box office,” said Adarsh, adding that the movie-going public has been hungry for these kinds of movies in India.
Echoing similar sentiments, film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi said, “The very fact that Disney invested so much in the Indian audience and the Indian market to cultivate a fan-base for these characters and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is what has borne results now.”
A still from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Some of the recent Hollywood box-office highlights in India were Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious 8 (Rs 86.79 crore), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Rs 82.81 crore) and Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible- Fallout (69.25 crore), but Disney’s Marvel has done what no other franchise has ever done in the country.
Talking about the same, Rathi said, “If you see Warner (Bros.), Universal and so many other Hollywood studios, they have fantastic franchises that don’t do business that is any way close to the kind of business that Avengers as a series has done in India or the Marvel universe has done in India. The simple reason is that almost a decade ago Disney started pushing its characters out and began going wide with releases and vernacular with the dubbed versions of these films.”
Rathi continued, “Similar thing happened with the Spider-Man franchise. That was among the first Hollywood franchise that was truly pushed out of the grassroots of the Indian market with vernacular versions. That’s why Spider-Man in India does phenomenal business as compare to let’s say a Christopher Nolan’s 'Batman', which was also a fantastic film or maybe a better film, but Spider-Man continues to be a more popular franchise. So, when you don’t have a Shah Rukh Khan or a Salman Khan in a film in India then you have to cultivate a fan-base for your characters over a period of time and Disney has successfully done it.”
With Avengers: Endgame already steamrolling the five-day business of the Hindi version of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, many have predicted that it’s going to get some serious boost over the SS Rajamouli movie when it will enter in its first week.
Even though Rathi believes that Endgame is going to be the highest-grossing Hollywood film in India by a long shot, beating the lifetime business of Baahubali 2 (Hindi) would be a little unimaginable.
Adarsh, on the other hand, said it’s a wait and watch situation. “Let’s see how the second week goes for the Endgame. But at the moment it’s going neck to neck. It’s a wake-up call for our filmmakers. Any good entertainer which works is going to be a threat to any film that is going to be coming now,” Adarsh signed off.
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