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“Avengers: Infinity War” on the way to the opening Heroic

Forget about Darth Vader. The newest threat of Luke Skywalker is The Avengers.

A week before it hits theaters, "Avengers: Infinity War" is set for a massive box-office debut that could unseat Star Wars: The Force Awakens of 2015 as the largest all-time opening in the US. UU and Canada, currently $ 248 million.

The third movie of "The Avengers" already sold more than $ 50 million in advance tickets, just behind "The Force Awakens" and December's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in pre-sales of all time, said people familiar with the matter. However, opinion polls show interest in seeing that "Infinity War" is actually higher than "Star Wars" movies and other comparable hits, according to data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Among the people surveyed in research widely used in Hollywood, 45% named "Infinity War" as their first choice to see among all the upcoming films. At the same time before its opening, "The Force Awakens" was at 33%.

Some projections of the opening night of "Avengers: Infinity War" next Thursday night are already sold out and theaters are adding shows during the night at moments like 2:30 a.m.

Whether "Infinity" War "knocks down" The Force Awakens "or falls short, is good news for

Walt Disney
Co.

, which it did through its divisions Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm, respectively.

Many well-established franchise-based movies show high interest and ticket sales at first, then stagnate as their release approaches and they struggle to expand beyond the fan bases. . But "Infinity War" has grown steadily.

"In this business you always ask when you're going to hit a wall, but so far in this movie, each figure has shown that the momentum is historic," he said.

Greg Foster,

head of entertainment for

IMAX
Corp.

"Infinity War" was the first film filmed entirely with IMAX cameras, to take advantage of the company's giant screens, and IMAX is playing it on all its screens around the world until the debut of

21st Century Fox
Inc. & # 39; s

"Deadpool 2", based on a character licensed by Marvel, May 18.

"Infinity War" is unlikely to publish one of the highest global openings of all time, since it will not be released in China, the world's second largest film market and a country where the government chooses dates launch, until May 11. In Russia, the ninth largest film market in the world, opens on May 3. It opens anywhere else the same week as the US. UU

Mr. Foster said he is seeing a lot of interest in the new "Avengers" around the world, even in China, where the recent "Star Wars" movies have performed poorly.

Often, studies help to stimulate interest in upcoming films screenings. But Disney is not showing the entire movie to anyone outside of the company until its Hollywood premiere on Monday. At recent amateur events in Brazil, Mexico and Singapore, he showed 20-minute sequences of the two-hour and 40-minute movie.

A massive opening for "Infinity War" would extend the unprecedented winning streak of Marvel, which has had 17 hits among the 18 films it has released in the last decade. Its launch of February Black Panther raised $ 675 million nationally, representing alone almost a quarter of all movie tickets sold in the first three months of this year. Around the world, it raised $ 1.3 billion.

The new film, which cost close to $ 300 million to make, unites more than 20 Marvel superheroes such as Iron Man, Spider-Man and Black Panther, the latter appearing in many ads to capitalize on his recent popularity.

Other Hollywood studios are moving away from "Infinity War," without another big budget movie opening before "Deadpool."

Write to Ben Fritz at ben.fritz@wsj.com

.


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