Avengers Endgame Sets Records

Last year, at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, we all watched the unthinkable happen to our superheroes and that started the countdown for April 2019 when the follow up, at the time known as Avengers 4, would be released. Early December 2018 saw the first trailer and the reveal of the name, Endgame, and the marketing campaign was in full swing by this past March.

When tickets went on sale I was right there buying up showing after showing for opening weekend as this was going to be one of the most anticipated movies of 2019.

I had the opportunity to drive to Toronto to see the press screening a few days before the release and have seen it in the theatre 10 times since. Cleary, the movie did not disappoint. (Confession: I will see it a few more times). I have had the opportunity to see it with several groups of friends and the audience's reaction is the same every time; laughter, tears, excitement, shock. I have been saying that this isn’t a movie, it’s an event! Over 11 years Marvel has delivered 22 films in this series and the finale did not disappoint.

I honestly feel this is a once in a lifetime film. Never, in my lifetime, have I seen a film gross $1.2 billion dollars in its opening weekend. Every screening I was at was packed. Cineplex Lansdowne devoted all 4 VIP theatres to this film. Most multiplexes have it playing on half of their screens and why not when every screening seems to be a sellout.

The question becomes why? Why is this film so popular? Marvel Studios has done a phenomenal job creating characters that connect with their audiences and have an acting ensemble the likes of which we have never seen. From the regulars like Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain American), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) to Hollywood royalty like Michael Douglas, Robert Redford, Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer to powerful newcomers like Brie Larson, Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland, the acting company is a who’s who of A-list celebrities. Egos are left at the door as the storytelling is what is most noticeable with these films. Marvel Studios has done a phenomenal job of bringing these comic books to the big screen and engaging a worldwide audience.

These movies make up a collection, which I feel, puts it in the conversation of ‘Best Movie Series Ever’ along with series like Star Wars.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada’s VP of Marketing, Greg Mason.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada’s VP of Marketing Greg Mason

OLM: Has this film's success surpassed expectations or was this in line with what you expected?

This has blown away all of our expectations and we couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative of the Marvel fans across Canada. We all thought it was going to do well but when you look, specifically in Canada, Infinity War opened up at $19.7 million and Endgame opened at $28.9. We did not expect to see it so big. It’s a very, very special film.

We have films that come along that are ‘biggest films of the year’ and ‘biggest films of the decade’. Would it be wrong to look at this as a ‘once in a lifetime’ film? A $1.2 billion global opening weekend is unheard of and I can’t think of anything on the horizon of topping that.

It’s funny you say that because I think that’s how we all feel right now, but there are films that come along and surprise. At this moment, we are certainly enjoying this record. We were blown away by the numbers that happened. You are absolutely right…it is a historical moment.

I would think this is a great time to be involved with Disney. You have The Lion King in a few months and of course Star Wars in December. Do you feel this puts on additional pressure, especially with the Star Wars franchise with this being the last film in the saga or do you look at it as ‘it’s all Disney and either way a win is a win’?

The way I look at it is we love all of our children equally but there is certainly some fun, healthy competition between our Lucasfilm and Marvel friends but it is shaping up to be one heck of a year all around. It’s never about one film ‘beating’ another, it’s about every film finding its audience and its voice and being able to deliver the magic to the various people that are going to enjoy it.

Endgame is the culmination of 22 films and fans are so invested in all of those characters. So many films have trouble wrapping up and this is a lesson on how to wrap things up with a lovely gold bow on top.

In terms of ‘what’s next for Marvel’, will we continue to see three Marvel films per year?

I can tell you very little as we are tight-lipped on the Marvel side. We have two films coming in 2020: The Eternals and Black Widow. There is lots more to come. Not only on the film side but also on our Disney Plus streaming services. Where we are heading in the Marvel Universe is incredibly exciting.  

There is still going to be characters that you know and love and last I checked there are a lot of good storylines and characters in the Marvel Universe to work on.

Do you have a favourite of the first 21 films, taking out Endgame?

Aside from Endgame, the one that stands out is the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Initially when you're trying to explain to people that it’s about a racoon and a talking tree and you’re out in space, there was a lot of people who said, ‘Marvel missed the boat on this one’. But lo and behold it became a such a wonderful franchise. That one surprised so many people and I love that sense of humour on a personal note.

I feel these 22 films belongs on the short list of greatest film series of all time, not just in terms of the great filmmaking but also the wonderful storytelling that links the films together.

I think there is definitely a love letter to the fans and I one hundred percent agree with you on the storytelling.

One question that has come up is that if you go through the 22 films there has only been one female director and that was a co-director (Anna Boden) on Captain Marvel? Are we going to see more female directors in the MCU as time goes on?

We definitely are. I can tell you the next two films will be directed by females. We had Victoria Alonso here last week. She is the executive producer of 21 out of the 22 films. She confirmed that we are looking at getting even better and stronger in representation across all different areas of the Marvel Universe. That is a major objective of the companies and we are very proud of that.

Thank you so much for your time.

Thank you and thank you to all of the Marvel fans in Ottawa! Thank you so very much for loving this picture and these characters as much as we do.