Fans around the globe have packed movie theatres for the debut of "Avengers: Endgame" over the weekend, pushing ticket sales for the superhero spectacle to a stunning $US1.2 billion and crushing records in dozens of countries.
Endgame generated an unprecedented $US350 million in the US and Canada from Thursday night through Sunday, according to Disney estimates.
The three-hour action spectacle that revealed the fates of Iron Man, Thor and other popular comic-book heroes also made history in China, Brazil, France, Egypt, South Africa and 38 other markets.
In China, the world's second-largest movie market, Endgame collected $US330.5 million since its debut on Wednesday.
The weekend helps put Disney on course for what analysts say looks like an unparalleled year, with the company set to release "The Lion King," "Toy Story 4" and several other potential blockbusters in the coming months.
Endgame is unique because it is the culmination of a story told in 22 Marvel Studios films that have drawn crowds to cinemas for a decade.
Audiences "have proven over and over again that they care about these characters," Cathleen Taff, Disney's head of theatrical distribution, said.
"I think they wanted to see how this epic story resolves itself."
Just days ago, the movie industry was divided on whether Endgame had a shot at hitting $US300 million in the domestic market.
The movie blew past that level and landed far above the previous record of $US257.7 million set a year ago by "Avengers: Infinity War."
That film ended with a cliffhanger in which many heroes appeared to turn to dust, stoking anticipation for Endgame.
To meet demand, theatres added showtimes and sold out shows at odd hours such as 7am. AMC Entertainment, operators of the world's largest theatre chain, kept some locations open for 72 hours straight.
"What we didn't count on is that fans would show up happily at three in the morning for a three-hour movie," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at measurement company Comscore, said.
Australian Associated Press