There was never really any doubt that the latest entry in the Marvel canon -- Avengers: Endgame -- would be a hit. The first part of the story, last year's Avengers: Infinity War, became one of the most successful films in movie history. The superhero saga broke numerous box office records, including generating $258 million on its opening weekend, before joining the short list of just four movies to top $2 billion in worldwide box office.
The massive success of the first entry, and the fact that it ended on a cliffhanger, virtually assured strong demand for the sequel. Anticipation leading up the April 26 release of the film is building to a fever pitch among fans, and the Disney (NYSE: DIS) marketing machine is working overtime to ensure that Marvel has every opportunity to again make history.
There's a growing body of evidence that those efforts are bearing fruit. Here are three signs that Avengers: Endgame could be a monstrous hit.
When tickets for Avengers: Endgame went on sale last week, many of the major ticketing outlets like Fandango, Cinemark, and AMC either crashed outright or reported wait times of more than an hour. Fandango was forced to create a digital queue to work through the backlog of eager moviegoers wanting to buy tickets.
This resulted in Endgame setting a first-day presale record, taking just six hours to achieve the heroic feat. It took the presale crown from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, (another Disney property), which had topped the list since prior to its release in 2015. It's also worth noting that the top five movies on the list of record-breaking first-day presales all have either Avengers or Star Wars in the title, and all have been released since 2015.
There's a brisk resale of tickets on eBay
If the presale record wasn't enough, some of those lucky enough to get opening weekend tickets are hawking them on eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) for exorbitant prices. One ambitious seller is offering four tickets for a Friday showing at a Times Square theater for a whopping $60,000. Four tickets in Dearborn, Michigan can be had for $5,000, while eight seats in Silver Spring, Maryland are selling for $5,000.
While these prices might seem steep, they're not without precedent. At least one fan has already shelled out big bucks for the privilege, buying two tickets last week for an AMC Dine In theater for $15,000.
Box office projections keep rising
Conservative estimates have Avengers: Endgame opening in a range of $200 million to $250 million for its debut, but other forecasts are projecting a much higher debut. Some box office prognosticators believe that the movie could garner opening weekend ticket sales north of $260 million, and some say that even $300 million is within the realm of possibility.
Forecasting box office results is more art than science, so this is just fun with numbers. It is worth considering, however, that Avengers: Infinity War was initially expected to rake in between $180 million and $225 million last year, before the opening weekend crushed those estimates with a record-setting $258 million debut.
This should be cause for rejoicing among Disney investors. The company accumulated more than $7 billion in box office last year -- the second-highest take in its history. This helped propel revenue from its movie studios to nearly $10 billion in 2018, up 19% year over year, while operating income grew an incredible 27% compared to 2017. Avengers played no small role in this, as it was considered the number one international movie of 2018. No doubt Disney is hoping to repeat its monstrous success again this year.
Disney has another strong slate of films on tap this year, including the long-awaited conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, with the debut of Star Wars: Episode IX in December. With two of its strong players taking the field in 2019, this could be a record-breaking year for the House of Mouse.
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Danny Vena owns shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings and Walt Disney and has the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.