The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie franchise made history once again with the release of the record-smashing film “Avengers: Endgame.” The movie had the highest grossing debut of all time, grossing $357 million domestically — 90% of the overall weekend market share — and a whopping $1.2 billion globally its opening weekend.
For comparison, the movie with the second highest grossing opening weekend is “Avengers: Infinity War” — one of the best Marvel movies according to a 24/7 Tempo ranking — and it grossed a total of nearly $258 million domestically during its debut last year. Of the 25 movies with the highest grossing debuts, nine are MCU films.
In today’s movie marketplace, one massively profitable blockbuster can gross more than hundreds of smaller movies combined. Studios consistently release big budget films, even if many flop, because the rewards of a successful movie of this caliber are so great. With the exception of three titles — the oldest of which is 2007’s “Spider-Man 3” — all of the 25 top grossing movie weekends have been released since 2010. More than ever before, we are living in the age of the blockbuster.
Most of these blockbusters also belong to popular movie franchises. When a fanbase already exists, moviegoers will turn out for sequels, eager to watch the new entry of their favorite series as soon as it comes out. Marvel, Star Wars, and J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World are among the most popular franchises driving huge opening weekends.
To identify the movies with the biggest opening weekends, 24/7 Tempo reviewed all time domestic opening weekend movie theater ticket sales for U.S. films from movie ticket tracking website Box Office Mojo as of April 29, 2019.