Marvel finally rolled out Infinity War in theaters nationwide last night with Thursday sneak previews, which saw the studio bringing in an impressive $39 million from these screenings, bringing its global total to $139 million. The $39 million from the Thursday box office is the highest ever for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, easily taking down Avengers: Age of Ultron ($27.6 million), and it also stands as the fourth highest Thursday gross of all time, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($43.5 million), Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($45 million) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($57 million).
Some analysts had put the Thursday gross as high as $45 million, but the estimated figure came in a bit lower than those high projections. Still, this Thursday gross will lead into a huge Friday for Marvel, although it will be interesting to see what percentage the Thursday tallies will represent for its full Friday gross, which includes all of Friday and the Thursday sneaks. For example, the $27.6 million Avengers: Age of Ultron earned on Thursday represented 33% of its Friday tally of $84.4 million, en route to a $191.2 million opening weekend. Black Panther's $25.2 million Thursday tally also represented 33% of its Friday total of $75.9 million, en route to an opening weekend of $202 million.
Early box office projections had put Avengers: Infinity War taking in between $235 million and $255 million in its opening weekend, which at the low end would be the second highest opening weekend ever, and at the high end, would break the $247.9 million record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December 2015. Infinity War's Thursday tally coming in nearly $20 million below The Force Awakens could indicate that it might fall short of the opening weekend record, but we won't find out for sure until Sunday morning when the full box office estimates. Regardless, this Thursday tally all but confirms that Avengers: Infinity War will be a monster hit, but how big remains to be seen.
While no theater count numbers were given for the Thursday sneaks, Avengers: Infinity War will be released in 4,474 theaters starting today, the widest release ever for any Disney movie, and the second widest release of all time, behind Universal's animated sequel Despicable Me 3, which launched in 4,529 theaters last summer. Like most Marvel movies, Avengers: Infinity War has no competition this weekend in wide release, and it will most likely run roughshod over the box office competition for the next three weeks, but it will face its toughest test on May 18 when it faces Deadpool 2, which may be the first movie to dethrone Infinity War.
Avengers: Infinity War currently stands at a solid 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, although that figure may fluctuate throughout opening weekend as more reviews come in. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the box office estimates to see if Avengers: Infinity War broke the all time opening weekend record. You can head over to Deadline for more on the Thursday grosses.