Disney and Marvel Studios released the highly anticipated “Avengers: Endgame” trailer on Friday, giving consumers a first look at what is planned for the final superhero statement from the biggest blockbuster franchise ever.
It’s also an ending that could gross up to $2 billion — the same amount “Avengers: Infinity War”, the first part of the saga directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, amassed during its summer run, according to Box Office Mojo figures.
“There are always caveats to forecasts this far out from release, but we think it’s another strong candidate for $600 million or more domestically, and possibly $2 billion worldwide,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for Box Office.com.
“The stakes have been raised organically, and the slow reveal surrounding Endgame only intensifies curiosity,” Robbins added. “We’re talking about the safest box office bet since ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ itself and the recent episodic ‘Star Wars’ films.”
By early Saturday, the trailer had already surpassed 40 million views on Marvel’s official YouTube channel.
The movie’s release date, April 26, could also help it to dominate at the 2019 box office, being that it’s the unofficial start to the summer blockbuster season.
“There really isn’t much to compete with it until later in May,” said Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst. The last Avengers installment will have four weeks before a similar big-budget competitor, “Godzilla 2”, comes out on May 31. “That gives Avengers four weeks to amass a huge box office,” Stone said.
In fact, six of Marvel Studios’ film with Avengers characters have made over $1 billion, according to The Numbers.com: “The Avengers” (2012), “Iron Man 3” (2013), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015), “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “Black Panther” (2018) and “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018).
“I think that, at this point we can have confidence in Marvel. No other movie studio [except] for Pixar managed to deliver such a streak of high-quality, entertaining big budget action/adventure films that everyone can enjoy,” said Daniel Richtman, a Twitter influencer and writer for SuperBroMovies.com.
Even with the official trailer out, several comic book and movie analysts said Disney and Marvel have been taking a less-is-more approach to marketing the final Avengers installment, which could be the right move.
“The hush marketing approach is actually brilliant,” said Karie Bible, a box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations.
Using fan responses on social media to drive promotion and advertising fundamentally changes engagement with Hollywood films and with the blockbuster, said Kia Afra, a Chapman University film professor.
“Just watching the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ trailer demands an understanding of not only the Avengers series, but also the various other interconnected Marvel franchises,” Afra said. “Avengers is thus a truly inter-textual blockbuster franchise on the scale that hasn’t been attempted before.”
But being tight-lipped and leaning on fan engagement also poses risks for Marvel among the more dedicated comic-book movie fans when the film debuts.
Jeremy Conrad, editor-in-chief of MCU Cosmic, said that in the lead-up to any big release fans will invent their own plot points, but in this case there is a risk of fans getting even more carried away than usual.
“Due to the secrecy of Endgame over the last six months, there are a lot of fan theories out there on sites like Reddit that people become attached to,” he said. “Marvel will never be able to match what some fans have already imagined.”
Indeed, pop culture writers were already busy on Friday trying to interpret the few hints available from the trailer.
Richtman expects fans to enter the theater on a high, regardless of how they exit it. “This type of storytelling was never done before on the big screen. I think Marvel fans around the world are anxious to see how after ten years and 20 films, the studio would wrap up the long saga of the Avengers. This is Marvel’s ‘Return of the Jedi.'”
—Donovan Russo, special to CNBC.com