• "Avengers: Endgame" has taken in more than $300 million at the box office in two days, with $154.5 million of that coming from China.
  • Experts estimate the film could earn as much as $1 billion globally over its opening weekend.
  • Endgame made $60 million in U.S. previews on Thursday, topping the previous record set by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." 

It's shaping up to be an epic opening weekend for "Avengers: Endgame" in terms of box-office sales. The 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, which opens Friday in North America, looks on track to be the fastest film to reach $1 billion in ticket sales and one of the highest-grossing movies of all-time.

 

"This is a cultural and cinematic event the likes of which I've never seen, and I've been in the business 26 years," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told CBS MoneyWatch, adding that "some theaters are running it around the clock."

Internationally, the movie has taken in $305 million in two days, with $154.5 million of that coming from China, where it opened two days ahead of its U.S. debut and had its biggest opening day ever in the world's second-biggest film market. Experts project "Avengers: Endgame" could earn between $260 million and $300 million domestically and $800 million to $1 billion globally when the final numbers come in Monday. 

AMC Theaters on Friday said the film -- clocking in at 3 hours and 58 seconds -- would play about 58,000 times at its theaters this weekend. The chain earlier in the week said 17 locations would run continuously for 72 hours to meet demand for the three-hour long grand finale to the series from Disney's superhero studio.

The Disney film collected $60 million from Thursday night previews in the U.S., surpassing the prior record of $57 million set by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" set on its opening night in 2015. "Avengers Infinity War," Endgame's prequel, earned $39 million during its previews in 2018 before eventually making $258 million, the highest-grossing weekend ever. 

"This is going to beat that, but by how much we don't know," Dergarabedian said, predicting that the film could hit $1 billion worldwide. "That's like swinging for the fences."

IMAX also enjoyed a record-breaking night, as "Endgame" grossed $4.8 million domestically in previews on 412 IMAX screens. That shattering the previous record set by "The Force Awakens."

Fandango said the film is the biggest pre-seller in the online ticket service's history. As of Thursday, 8,000 showtimes had sold out at theaters across the U.S. "It's pacing to be our biggest box-office weekend of all time," said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. "We've never seen so many new screens and new showtimes added to meet the demand." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.