Avengers finale shattering records

Fans of The Avengers strike a pose while dressed for a costume contest before the first screening of Avengers: Endgame at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Thursday. (AFP Photo)

The Avengers have assembled for the last time, and they are destroying the competition — even before hitting US movie theatres.

Avengers: Endgame, the last in a 22-film arc featuring the beloved Marvel Universe superheroes, shattered records upon its release in Asia, specifically in China, according to Disney, which owns Marvel Studios.

The movie raked in US$169 million on Wednesday, its first day of release in 25 markets including China, Australia and several countries in Europe.

It set single-day box office records in China, Australia, New Zealand and other countries, said Disney, which bought Marvel Studios in 2009. Receipts in China alone were $107.5 million.

In France, Endgame scored the biggest opening day for a Marvel film. It set an overall opening day record in the Netherlands, Greece and Egypt.

The figures indicate that the movie will surpass the receipts generated by the previous episode in the saga, Avengers: Infinity War, which came out last year, Disney added.

The film, which has also received rave reviews from critics, went into wide release in the United States and Canada on Friday, after showings in a few selected cities on Thursday.

Experts predict the well-reviewed Avengers finale — featuring Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and a raft of other stars — could make between $200 million and $260 million in its opening weekend in North America.

The film clocks runs just about three hours, leading he US movie chain AMC to schedule showings around the clock in several dozen cinemas to satisfy demand from fans.

In India, the country’s main ticket trader said advance sales had exceeded 2.5 million tickets, and some cinemas in the usually Bollywood-mad country are planning around-the-clock screenings.

Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar worldwide opening in history.

The 21 preceding films — featuring many of the comic book heroes created by the late legend Stan Lee — have earned about $19 billion globally.