Before the movie, a Zhejiang cinema shows a list of people who failed to pay debts. Photo: Weibo

Avengers: Endgame have been the most repeated words on Chinese social media this week. The much-anticipated movie smashed an opening box-record record of 600 million yuan (US$107 million) on Wednesday and broke the fastest pre-sales record of exceeding 100 million yuan right after its pre-sale on April 12.

That should bring in a jackpot for the Marvel studio and Walt Disney with online ticket seller Maoyan Entertainment tipping the box office in China would break 3.5 billion yuan based on the strong demand.

Tickets to the first showing at midnight of Avengers: Endgame were reported to cost 63.5 yuan, while the average rate of first-day tickets was 56.5 yuan, 49% higher than that of the 37.9 yuan recorded by Avengers: Infinity War last year.

#Avengers:Endgame was the most popular hashtag on weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, as the audience could not stop sharing their comments on social media. That was abnormal given that many would prefer not to know the twists and turns of movies before seeing them in a theatre.

Ditto for the Alibaba Group’s Taobao merchants, who sold souvenirs and found it engaging to set up a discussion forum with a charge of 10 cents from users. Even the provincial government knew how to tap into the Avengers: Endgame to its own advantage.

In a Zhejiang theatre, the audience watched a pre-movie trailer that showed the names of citizens who failed to pay debts. There was also a list of 60 people with their names, photos and outstanding amounts who had not paid their fines.

One person on the list immediately settled an outstanding 50,000 yuan debt after he was told his name was shown because he knew his daughter would go to see the movie with her high school colleagues over the weekend. The spillover effect might be above the Avengers’ expectations.

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