Avengers: Endgame is beating even Bollywood blockbusters in India

Still going strong.
Still going strong.
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Avengers: Endgame has not only become the biggest Hollywood grosser in India but is also sneaking up on some of Bollywood’s biggest hits.

The concluding film in the decade-long Marvel cinematic universe journey, which released on April 26, garnered over Rs326 crore ($46.6 million) at the box office by the end of its 12th day in theatres across the country, according to a May 08 report on Bollywood news site Koimoi.

This stellar performance has put the movie among the top 10 domestic earners of all-time in India.

“The demand for tickets has been sky-high since advance bookings opened on BookMyShow, with cinemas adding new shows every day to match fans’ rising demands,” Ashish Saksena, COO of the online ticketing platform’s cinema division, told Quartz. “So far, BookMyShow has sold about eight million tickets and counting, making it the highest in-demand Hollywood film in India.” And this reflects just 48% of the net box office collection.

The sequel to last year’s Avengers: Infinity War was highly anticipated. “The phenomenon around the entire film series has been very well cultivated by Marvel, by introducing one character at a time. They were patient enough, taking 11 years and 22 films to deliver a conclusion like Avengers: Endgame,” Saksena added.

Though the actual numbers are still under wraps, Disney’s marketing expenditure for Endgame is one of the highest across the industry, the company’s head of studio entertainment, Bikram Duggal, told daily newspaper Mint.

Releasing in multiple languages also gave a boost. “Disney puts a lot of effort in dubbing. If you watch Endgame in Hindi, it is as hilarious in Hindi as it is in English. Because they don’t translate but rewrite the dialogues,” Amit Sharma, the managing director of Miraj Cinemas, a cinema exhibition company focussed on bringing multiplexes to small town India, told Moneycontrol. “Disney understands markets far better than its competitors.”

However, viewers took to Twitter to say that the Hindi and Tamil versions were not up to the mark. Some of them watched it out of desperation when tickets for English shows—especially at the few IMAX ones—were sold out. They returned to watch the English shows later. Ardent fans have seen it multiple times.

The breakout success of the movie smashed two myths about Indian cinema, according to a May 04 tweet by trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

First, it is widely believed that public festivals drive traffic. For years, Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan have released their movies on Diwali and Eid-ul-Fitr, respectively. Avengers hit the screens on a non-festive day and still romped home in style.

Secondly, Endgame’s success comes despite a smaller screen count. Avengers had just 2,845 screens versus big Bollywood releases that go right to the interiors of the country, playing on upwards of 4,000 or 4,500 screens at times, Adarsh noted.

However, it did help that there were no big Bollywood flicks clashing with Endgame in its first week. The question now is, with Karan Johar’s Student of the Year 2 releasing today (May 10), can the superhero franchise continue its astronomical run?