How Avengers put Disney at the top of the charts

Avengers: Endgame broke all box office records last weekend and has confirmed Disney's dominance in global cinema.

More than 90% of the value of all tickets sold in UK cinemas last weekend was for Avengers: Endgame.

Within five days it had become the fastest film to break the $1bn sales barrier worldwide.

But more significantly, it is the latest evidence that Walt Disney is now the world's biggest box-office player.

Of the 10 films with the biggest worldwide sales in their opening weekend, Disney has distributed five.

Variety magazine reported that Disney took one fifth of all global box office takings in 2018.

The root of Disney's success lies in shrewd purchases: Pixar (Toy Story) in 2006, Marvel Entertainment in 2009, LucasFilms (Star Wars) in 2012 and then the film studios of 21st Century Fox (Avatar, X-Men, Planet of the Apes, Kingsman) in March this year.

Endgame is now the 22nd film in the Marvel Avengers series based in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Superhero films have long been a Hollywood mainstay, but the MCU, by populating its world with a range of characters as well as stories, has turned out to be the most successful film franchise to date.

Richard Broughton, research director at media research group Ampere Analysis, said: "Franchises are particularly suited to big studios that are reluctant to take risks on new titles.

"And for Disney it was a happy accident that the early titles, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Thor, struck a chord - and it rolled on from there."

And the rewards have been spectacular. The top 10 Marvel films have pulled in more than $12bn (£9.2bn) at the box office.