Even before its release, there was no doubt Avengers: Infinity War was going to make truckloads of money at the box office. What nobody foresaw was just how big the movie will be. Avengers: Infinity War smashed the opening weekend record held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens en route to $257 million.
The film is also the fastest to $1 billion, taking just 11 days. The film earned $630 million in its global debut, the highest ever. What’s even more impressive is that debut does not include China where the movie opened later. And when the Marvel epic did open in the Middle Kingdom, it grossed $200 million in its opening weekend.
The third Avengers film is on track to make $2 billion worldwide, and it’s earned critical praise and thrilled audiences. From the packed theaters at Carmike to Maya Cinemas and others, the film solidified the status of the MCU as the biggest movie franchise, beating Star Wars.
But what is it about Avengers: Infinity War that struck a chord with moviegoers? Let’s take a look.
The Character Buildup
Avengers: Infinity War represents the culmination of ten years of the MCU. Since Iron Man came out in 2008, the MCU gave moviegoers an experience they’ve never had before, an interconnected cinematic universe where their favorite superheroes come together.
In those ten years we’ve come to know not just Iron Man but Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Then Marvel introduced other characters like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider Man, Ant Man, Dr. Strange, Black Panther etc.
Even those that haven’t had solo movies like Scarlet Witch, Vision, War Machine and Falcon pop up regularly so audiences have come to know them as well. Marvel did a great job building up these characters so when we see them in Infinity War, we know who they are and what is at stake.
Infinity War has over 60 main characters, and it could have been a disaster just dividing the screen time. But directors Joe and Anthony Russo didn’t need to spend a lot of time on character development since they’re already well established. This allowed the directors to focus on the story.
A Compelling Villain
In the past Marvel has been criticized for its poor villains, and in some instances that is justified. But all that changed with Thanos. Here we have someone who doesn’t simply want to rule the world as his goal is to restore balance to the universe.
Thanos genuinely believes that what he’s doing is right after witnessing what happened to his home planet. His quest for the Infinity Stones is not out of lust for power but his belief it’s needed to save the universe. He even sacrificed his daughter Gamora to obtain the Soul Stone.
It’s All Connected
Another thing needs to be said: the MCU had been building up to Thanos since he appeared briefly in the Avengers in 2012 and Guardians of the Galaxy. The Infinity Stones have also captured the public’s imagination since the Space Stone showed up in the first Avengers film.
The MCU films stand out on their own, but part of the fun for fans is looking for links to the other movies and figuring out where the other stones are. Fans were left guessing where thee Soul Stone was until Infinity War, and the knowledge of where the other stones where added to the anticipation.
We knew Vision had the Mind Stone, Dr. Strange had the Time Stone and so on, so that gives us an idea of where Thanos was headed and that there’s danger for those characters. What will happen to them? That is one of the reasons why people could not wait to see the film.
A Great Film
There was a lot of hype for Infinity War. Its pre-sales were greater than the last 7 MCU movies combined, and we already mentioned the box office records it broke. But there is more to it than that.
It was expected the movie would do well on opening weekend, but its legs showed this isn’t frontloaded like Batman v. Superman or the X Men films. Word of mouth was good and why not as the Russos did an incredible job balancing the stories of the characters while providing plenty of action.
The MCU has also done a great job in satisfying casual moviegoers, hardcore MCU fans and comicbook readers alike. This is very evident in Infinity War and in the audience response. Story aside, we see how the events change the characters most notably Thor. All the major characters have their moments in the film as well.
Bottom line: the success of Infinity War says as much about the film as the entire MCU, and with Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 coming up next year, things will only get better.