It’s easy to judge a movie based on the total gross profit, but the star power really shows when we look at just the opening weekend. How many people will go to the theater from the Friday a movie is released through the following Sunday?
The past decade has seen some major changes in the movie industry. Comic book movies and sequels have become sure-fire ways to get people out to theaters in droves. The following movies have cemented their place in history with the biggest opening weekends in Hollywood history.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Opening weekend gross: $191,271,109
Following the massive success of “Marvel's The Avengers” in 2012, it came as no shock that the second installment of the "Avengers" franchise, released in May 2015, set some records. Earth’s mightiest heroes returned to a $191,271,109 opening weekend. It also set a new record for the biggest opening day for a superhero film.
“The Lion King” (2019)
Opening weekend gross: $191,770,759
Everyone loves the tale of Simba and his struggle to reclaim Pride Rock from his evil uncle Scar. “The Lion King” was re-released in July 2019 using modern animation processes that created a photo-realistic version of the original 1994 classic.
Fans came out in force. “The Lion King” earned $191,770,759 in its opening weekend, making it the biggest opening weekend of all time for an animated film. It also went on to become the highest-grossing remake of all time.
Opening weekend gross: $202,003,951
The story of Wakanda and its people remains a favorite among the Marvel movies and even became a rallying cry for diversity and representation in Hollywood.
The 18th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was released in February 2018 and stayed at the number one spot for five consecutive weeks. It went on to become the highest-grossing film of the year, earning $202,003,951 in the opening weekend alone.
"Marvel’s The Avengers”
Opening weekend gross: $207,438,708
Avengers, assemble! In May 2012, for the first time ever, all the Marvel heroes united to fight a common enemy. It took four years and five movies to build up to this epic struggle against the mischievous Loki.
All the build-up was worth it. “The Avengers” broke nearly every record that was available to break. At the time of release, it had the biggest opening weekend of any film at $207,438,708; the biggest opening week; the biggest second week; the highest cumulative gross; and the quickest to reach every benchmark up to $550 million.
Opening weekend gross: $208,806,270
The "Jurassic Park” series remains one of the most popular and influential film franchies to ever exist. When “Jurassic World” was released in June 2015, it had been 14 years since fans had last visited the famous dinosaur-inhabited park.
The film grossed $208,806,270 in its opening weekend and went on to become the highest-grossing movie of the entire franchise.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Opening weekend gross: $220,009,584
Knowing that "Star Wars" movies always come in trilogies, fans were eager for more as soon as the credits finished rolling on “The Force Awakens.” Two years later, in December 2017, “The Last Jedi” was released.
It went on to become the highest-grossing film of 2017 and brought in an impressive $220,009,584 just in the opening weekend.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Opening weekend gross: $247,966,675
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." Many fans had believed their time to see those words had come to a close with "Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” in 2005. In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, along with the "Star Wars" franchise, for $4 billion and brought hope, and some fear, to the hearts of fans everywhere.
When “The Force Awakens” was released in December 2015, it sold more tickets than any other movie in North America since “Titanic” in 1997 and earned $247,966,675 in the opening weekend alone.
“Avengers: Infinity War”
Opening weekend gross: $257,698,183
The team was back and better than ever. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and all the others returned to the big screen to do battle with the all-powerful Thanos. With so much at stake, fans were chomping at the bit to see what would happen.
“Infinity War” was the highest grossing superhero film of all time (at the time... keep reading). In the opening weekend, ticket sales reached an astounding $257,698,183.
Opening weekend gross: $357,115,007
Not only were all The Avengers together yet again, it was their last hurrah. So much excitement, so much star power, so much anticipation can only mean one thing: records will be set.
The epic conclusion for “The Avengers” brought in a massive $357,115,007 just in the opening weekend alone, beating its own record (set by "Infinity War”) by nearly $100 million. It was also the fastest film in history to reach $1 billion (five days) and $1.5 billion (eight days) and was only the second film in history to reach the $2.5 billion mark. It eventually went on to become the highest grossing film of all time worldwide.
Cover image credit: Kirk Wester / iStock