Marvel Studios’ "Avengers: Endgame" opens this evening with some epic expectations. More than three hours long, it will play in more than 4,600 theaters in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to set a record opening-weekend gross in the $300 million range for North America alone.
The movie, which is “the culmination of 21 Marvel Studios blockbusters,” sold five times as many tickets as last year’s "Avengers: Infinity War" during its first week of presales on Fandango. "Infinity War" went on to become the fourth-highest grossing movie of all time in North America, Erich Schwartzel reports for the Wall Street Journal.
“Theater operators are scheduling round-the-clock screenings to accommodate demand, and many multiplex operators report they plan to dedicate at least half their auditoriums to the movie. The nation’s largest chain, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., saw its stock rise about 10% earlier this month on news of the 'Avengers' presale record. AMC said 17 of its locations will stay open through the night to screen the movie in its first 72 hours of release,” Schwartzel continues.
The marketing budget of about $200 million “is far and away the biggest marketing promotional campaign in Marvel Studios history,” Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro reveals. “Touting a record 10 custom ad-supported spots, this year’s group of 'Avengers' global ad partners are hitting key audiences that traditional media can’t buy.”
“Think about that for a second. A figure like $200 million or more is usually reserved for the production budgets of major Hollywood blockbusters that we might call a ‘sure thing.’ That means the feature will almost assuredly make its budget back many times over with executives hoping for $1 billion (or much higher) at the global box office. It's almost unheard of for a studio to spend so much money on mere promotion for just one movie,” writes Josh Weiss for Syfy Wire.
“As our fan universe expands with new characters and stories, so has our audience,” Mindy Hamilton, senior vice president of partnership marketing at the Walt Disney Company, tells Deadline’s D’Alessandro. “We’ve grown beyond our target audience of traditional fanboys; now it’s millennials, it’s teens, it’s multicultural and families. We look for partnerships that honor and celebrate in each of these.”
D’Alessandro adds that “for any brand looking to solidify itself on shelves or break through to a new audience, partnering with Marvel is a dream: Industry estimates say those consumer packaged brands that ally themselves with the MCU can see on average a 50% spike in sales for a specific product line that they’re promoting over a quarterly basis.”
In a twist, “the marketing [for 'Avengers: Endgame'] assumes you’ve seen 'Avengers: Infinity War,'” Scott Mendelson writes for Forbes.
“Unlike arguably every other [Marvel Cinematic Universe] movie, this ‘season finale’ offering is more than willing to sell itself without spelling out what the plot of the movie happens to be. Yes, there are references to Thanos and his ‘kill half the universe’ plot that surprisingly succeeded last time out, but most of the marketing (including the Super Bowl commercial which was seen by 98 million people in North America alone) is throwing you right into the deep end of the pool, without wasting time bringing you up to speed either on the events of 'Infinity War' or the overarching narrative of the MCU. The marketing tidbits that do reference prior movies are plugging nostalgia, not getting people up to speed,” Mendelson observes.
If you are among the apparently few who do need to be brought up to speed, as I am, Screen Rant’s Cooper Hood provides a helpful synopsis of more than a decade of MCU moviemaking: “The last eleven years … have all been building to this. 'Avengers: Endgame' will be the culmination of a 22-film story that's largely revolved around original six Avengers characters like Iron Man and Captain America and the eventual threat that Thanos would pose. When he did arrive in 'Avengers: Infinity War,' he snapped his fingers and wiped out half of all life across the universe.”
Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, apparently spends too much time at the gym, though he is an unlikely spokesperson for Lululemon.