There was really just one, green, giant-sized box office story this weekend. Assembling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes proved to be the jackpot as The Avengers were on a record pace, after blitzing through with $80.5 million Friday, filling the multiplexes this weekend and kicking off the summer film season. It didn’t matter if it was IMAX, 3D or 2D, the cash never stopped flowing through a whopping 4,349 theaters. The early estimate is $200.3 million (nearly making up all of it’s $220 million production budget on domestic box office) and worldwide the count is up to $641 million, placing it 55th on the all-time worldwide list. That works out to an unimaginable $46,057 per theater! The next largest opening was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 with $169 million. Not bad for an opening weekend – and people still wonder why so much is invested in big blockbusters and their sequels. When it works folks, it reeeeeeeally works.
Oh and don’t expect The Avengers to be shown the door anytime soon. It has an incredible word of mouth and has become that next great popcorn film that people are more than glad to see multiple times at the theater. There are fans who has already seen it at least five times. No joke. Superheroes are here to stay, so deal with it sourpusses. Either get with the program or clear out of the way. This major score at the box office depended largely on the above average success of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger and delivering on the promise to make an Avengers film that would service the fans of the comics and films. Marvel brought in the circus to every city and audiences came by the waves with so much excitement and left with even more than what they had going in. That’s what they call delivering on the hype. Now, if everyone who saw the film read the comics too, the world would be a better place. It’s never translated before, but let’s hope The Avengers brings some new and permanent interest in the surviving hobby.
It may not look like it, but there were films besides Avengers at the theaters, but the midnight sales ($17.5M) alone beat the field.
Think Like a Man did its very best and came in second with $8 million while The Hunger Games (third, $5.7M), The Lucky One (fourth, $5.5 M), The Pirates! Band of Misfits (fifth, $5.4), and the Raven (seventh, $2.5M) all held their positions from last week. The only one that saw a steep drop was The Five-Year Engagement that fell to sixth from second with just $5.1 million. In the end that romantic comedy should do okay as comedies tend to have a longer shelf life than action films but expectations were much, much higher.
Hitting second-run theaters was John Carter, which added back 169 theaters and finished in 12th in this odd week at the box office and added another $1.3 million. Hey folks, worldwide it did make up its production budget of $250 million and we’ll never know how much was spent on marketing but it’s clear that the wrong group was chosen because that’s going to be one of those films that people are going to look back as a missed opportunity.
Art houses had their own Avengers, and it was called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (15th, $750,000), which opened to 27 theaters and brought in nearly $28,000 per location. The film was directed by John Madden (The Debt, Shakespeare in Love) and stars a superb cast filled with British standards, Judi Dench (pictured above with Celia Imrie), Tom Wilkinson, Dev Patel, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy. The plot revolves around British retirees who take a trip to India in a newly restored hotel, but is not quite as accommodating as it was advertised. Older audiences love a film aimed at their age group and at least in the metropolitan markets, supported this film as a pure alternative to The Avengers and all of its booming surround sound glory. This is no sleeper however, as it’s already made $70 million worldwide and will likely expand some more in the coming weeks to a few hundred more theaters.
Now, we will see if The Avengers can hold the top spot and have real legs in the domestic box office. The Dark Knight went on to make over $533 million after opening with $158 and Avatar wound up making just under $750 million after a $77 million opening. How high of a ceiling will The Avengers have? What’s your prediction?
Here is the list of the top 20 films in Weekend #11 of 2012 according to Box Office Mojo and their estimate box office numbers.
1 Marvel’s The Avengers (Buena Vista/Disney) $200,300,000
2 Think Like a Man (Screen Gems) $8,000,000
3 The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) $5,700,00
4 The Lucky One (Warner Bros) $5,510,000
5 The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Sony) $5,400,000
6 The Five-Year Engagement (Universal) $5,100,000
7 The Raven (Relativity) $2,508,000
8 Safe (Lions Gate) $2,470,000
9 Chimpanzee (Buena Vista/Disney) $2,395,000
10 The Three Stooges (Fox) $1,800,000
11 The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate) $1,550,000
12 John Carter (Buena Vista/Disney) $1,325,000
13 21 Jump Street (Sony) $1,05,000
14 American Reunion (Universal) $839,000
15 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) $750,000
16 Mirror Mirror (Relativity) $715,000
17 Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (Universal) $404,000
18 Titanic 3D (Paramount) $335,000
19 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (CBS) $270,000
20 Monsieru Lazhar (US Only) (MBox) $221,000