‘Infinity War’ Is Poised to Smash Box-Office Record in China

(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co.’s new “Avengers” movie is threatening to obliterate box-office records in China after already doing so at home.

The film took in an estimated $77.6 million in Thursday night previews and Friday grosses, according EntGroup Inc., a market research firm. While Disney declined to confirm the numbers, it said in a statement that “early indications are very strong as we look to have one of the biggest opening days of all time.”

Imax Corp. said it had its highest advanced ticket sales ever in China -- “by far” -- for the film, which opened there Friday. Though the large-format theater chain only accounts for a small portion of the Chinese market, some box-office analysts see it as a sign that the movie could unseat “Monster Hunt 2” as the biggest weekend debut ever.

“The enthusiasm that is reflected in massive Imax pre-sales is also fueling ticket sales in other formats as well,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore Inc. “This overall excitement could power the biggest and first-ever $200 million plus debut in China.”

Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro, also believes the film has a shot at $200 million or more.

“Monster Hunt 2” earned the box-office record for an opening weekend in February, when it rang up $185 million. Second on the list is last year’s “The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth installment of the car-heist franchise. It earned $176 million during its first weekend, according to ComScore data.

It can be difficult to predict results in China. The market is more volatile than the U.S., and advanced sales aren’t as popular.

The Chinese opening comes two weeks after the U.S. debut for “Infinity War,” and that lag may have helped drive up demand. The movie got generally positive reviews and has already earned $1.28 billion worldwide.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.