The 182-minute runtime of “Avengers: Endgame” is showing no signs of hindering the overwhelming audience demand for tickets, so much so that AMC and other major theater chains are keeping some of their locations open all night long this weekend.
On Monday, AMC announced that 64 of their cinemas in major markets have sold out so many of their screenings for “Endgame” that they will be keeping those locations open overnight for screenings. Of those locations, 17 will be kept open for more than 72 consecutive hours, from the time preview screenings begin for “Endgame” on Thursday evening all the way through Sunday night.
“AMC guests have already purchased more tickets to ‘Avengers: Endgame’ than we’ve ever sold in advance of a film’s release – and our first shows aren’t until Thursday evening,” said Elizabeth Frank, EVP Worldwide Programming for AMC.
Also Read: Summer Box Office Preview: How 'Avengers' and Other Disney Hits Could Save a Dismal Year So Far
“With a desire to satisfy as many Marvel fans as possible on Thursday and through the weekend, AMC’s programming team is reviewing ticket sales theatre by theatre and adding showtimes later and later,” Frank added.
Other nationwide chains are taking a similar approach. In Los Angeles area, the Regal Cinemas locations at L.A. Live and South Gate are holding screenings at 2 a.m., 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. to accommodate moviegoers. The Cinemark in Long Beach, California, is also holding a 4:30 a.m. screening. Vue Cinema London – Westfield will hold hundreds of screenings around the clock this weekend, including 92 in a 24-hour period starting at 4 a.m. on Friday.
Conventional wisdom dictates that a film with a runtime of three hours has a cap on how much money it can make at the box office, as such a lengthy runtime means one fewer screening that a theater can present in an auditorium.
Also Read: 'Captain Marvel' Gets 'Avengers'-Fueled Box Office Bump, Hits $400 Million Domestic
But that hasn’t stopped blockbusters with such epic runtimes from becoming global hits. The 3 hour, 14 minute “Titanic” still stands as one of the biggest box office hits of all time more than two decades after its release with $2.1 billion grossed worldwide. In 2003, “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” hit theaters with a 3 hour, 20 minute runtime, and grossed $1.11 billion globally.
Neither of those films, however, had the immediate and overwhelming hype and ticket demand that “Avengers: Endgame” has. Ticket-sale websites and movie theater chains around the globe have reported advance sale records since tickets first became available three weeks ago. Both Fandango and Atom have reported that “Endgame” has sold the most advance tickets in the history of their respective websites, with AMC and Vue reporting company presale records as well.
Also Read: Next 10 Ventures' Ben Grubbs on Why Digital-First Content Is King (All Things Video Podcast)
Such demand breaks Hollywood’s usual metrics for predicting a film’s opening weekend, but with an industry record 4,600+ screens presenting it this weekend, “Endgame” is expected to make a domestic opening of at least $270 million, breaking the $257.6 million record set last year by “Avengers: Infinity War.” Worldwide, the film is expected to open to at least $850 million, and could become the first film to make $1 billion in its opening weekend if audience turnout in the U.S., China, and other major markets top already astronomical expectations.