Ahead of the Game

Avengers Endgame has raked in the highest ever opening for a Hollywood film in India and the fans are overjoyed with the three-hour spectacle.

“I maxed out the 10-seat capacity that the ticket booking app allowed and saw the midnight show at iMax the next day. I’d been waiting for this film for a really long time because I’d read the Infinity Gauntlet comics. To see it come alive on this scale was quite something. I kept scanning the app, and we made quite an experience of watching the film,” says Tejas Menon, indie musician and founder of Geek Fruit, a podcast on pop culture.

Menon and his group of friends were not the only ones who helped Avengers: Endgame get Rs 189.7 crore earning in four days of its release in India. Nishant Singh, 33, a Noida-based sales expert in industrial equipment, saw the film on Friday, at 8 am, alone. “On Sunday, I will take my wife and five-year-old daughter. My wife is not into this genre, but because I have gone crazy, she saw Avengers: Infinity War on TV, so she knows what to expect from Avengers: Endgame,” says Singh.

Globally, the fourth offering of the Avengers franchise has earned 1.2 billion dollars. According to Bookmyshow, a leading entertainment aggregator and ticketing service, these figures will only grow. “Avengers: Endgame has done phenomenal business of over Rs 155 crore through the opening weekend and is likely to touch Rs 250 crore by the end of this week. The fact that it is holding strong even on a Monday is a great sign. The film is expected to do a lifetime business of Rs 350-375 crore and is a sure-shot mega blockbuster,” says Ashish Saksena, COO-Cinemas, BookMyShow.

Tickets for Avengers: Endgame went up for sale the Monday before the film’s release and were sold out within minutes. Over 11 years, and 22 films, the fandom of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown exponentially. Characters like Thor, Hulk and Captain America have become global references for pop culture. Catch phrases like ‘Wakanda Forever’, ‘That’s what heroes do’, and ‘I am Iron Man’, are now part of colloquial pop jargon the world over. The result is that Avengers: Endgame has put the franchise on a pedestal.

“The phenomenon around the film series has been very well-cultivated by Marvel, by introducing one character at a time. They were patient enough to take 11 years and 22 films to deliver a conclusion like Avengers: Endgame. The fandom transcends age groups because the older generations have memories of the comics and the newer ones have followed the films religiously,” adds Saksena.

It’s not just the films, the fans are indulging themselves in an immersive experience — be it wearing t-shirts pertaining to the Marvel world as they go watch the film, or sporting merchandise and memorabilia — baseball caps, watches and backpacks etc. Menon wore his favourite Ant Man t-shirt to the screening. Social media is brimming with pictures of fans wearing their favourite superhero costumes at the screenings.

E-commerce spaces in India, too, have capitalised on this trend. Brands like Voxpop, The Tee Story and The Souled Store have stocked in Marvel merchandise, and are doing brisk sales. T-shirts remain the most favoured of all merchandise. “People are going crazy for Marvel t-shirts, especially the limited edition‘More than a fan’ t-shirt, which is flying off the shelves. Captain America and Iron Man are some of the favourite characters. Sales have quadrupled ever since the release of Avengers:Endgame,” shares Vedang Patel, co-founder, The Souled Store.

While the Avengers franchise has reached an end, Marvel fans have a lot to rejoice with Spider Man: Far From Home slated for a July 2 release, and a spate of other Marvel movies lined up for release. This could be a second beginning.

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