Question: When is it good when a film drops -50.3% in gross and remains #1?
Answer: When the film is The Avengers, which officially completed the biggest opening two weeks in history. It remained #1 at the box office this past weekend and the weekend actuals totaled $103,052, 274 ($373,071,647 domestic total) leaving the competition far behind to have the best second weekend ever, destroying James Cameron’s Avatar’s previous record of $75.6 million. To discuss more gaudy numbers, it did not lose (or add) a single theater and it still made each location, on average, $23,696! It’s already #12 on the all time worldwide gross chart topping (in my best Dr. Evil voice) 1 BILLION dollars in just 10 days. 10 Days, people!
A week from now, it will squish The Hunger Games like a $387 million ant in all-time domestic box office. Last week from Monday through Thursday, The Avengers made $70 million. Before this upcoming weekend begins, it should climb into the top ten domestic box office runs and will make a run at Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope a week from today. The little-Marvel-film-that-could now holds box office records in 30 different charts at Box Office Mojo including Top-10 Day gross, second weekends, opening weekends, and fastest to $350 million.
Do you really want to know what came in after The Avengers? Of course you do. Poor Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The frequent director-actor duo appears to be losing a great deal of its magic. Had Dark Shadows opened any other month if might have had a shot. $29 million is nothing to sneeze at, but when your production budget was $150 million, then it was a sad weekend indeed. For one, no theater was letting go or giving any 3D screens to Dark Shadows if it could help it–not that either one is a particularly thrilling 3D experience, but those are screens and money to add to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For Dark Shadows, they simply could not eat into The Avengers’ pace. There was another new release this past weekend and that was Girl in Progress which did not crack the top ten list, finishing 11th ($1.38 million).
Everyone else finished close to where they finished last week with the exception of two films. Aardman stop-motion animation film, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, which is going to wind up being saved by foreign box office, after dropping to seventh place ($3.1 million). The other noteworthy story at the box office is the senior British Open of films, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which expanded to 178 theaters and still made each location over $15,000, moving up eight spots to eighth and is becoming the perfect alternative to The Avengers. Every time one of these massive films hits, there’s always at least one quality film that capitalizes on being everything the blockbuster is not.
It’s not bombastic or filled with green screen effects. It’s directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), is set in India and stars Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel and Bill Nighy. Once could make a case that it’s a superhero cast of actors 50 and up. In the press screening I attended, about a third smaller than my Avengers screening, had as much laughter, applause, and people staying through the credits (no there is no post-credits scene). It is customary to see viewers stay through the credits at art house films. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel plays to a completely different audience, but it pleases them just the same. Now Marigold will never come close to becoming #1, but it’s exciting that there can be two films at opposite ends of the spectrum satisfying their audiences.
But what film will knock The Avengers from the throne? Not since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has there been a film that audiences are paying to see multiple times in the theater. It’s already shifted the release schedule of other films. The Dictator was supposed to come out this past weekend, but Paramount wisely held it back for five more days and will be released this Wednesday. Ask Tim Burton if he’d like a mulligan on this past weekend. Men in Black 3 poses the first serious threat and dabbles in the same arena of Sci-Fi Comedy. At the beginning of June, Snow White and the Huntsman comes out and the country might be full of The Avengers by then. If not, then Alien-prequel, Prometheus will certainly be a formidable opponent. Which one do you think can topple Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Can any of them? Let us know your thoughts below.
Here is the list of the top 20 films in Weekend #12 of 2012 according to Box Office Mojo and their actual box office numbers.
1 Marvel’s The Avengers (Buena Vista/Disney) $200,300,000
2 Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.) $29,685,274
3 Think Like a Man (Screen Gems) $5,700,00
4 The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) $5,510,000
5 The Lucky One (Warner Bros) $5,400,000
6 The Five-Year Engagement (Universal) $3,314,010
7 The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Sony) $3,143,442
8 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) $2,672,140
9 Chimpanzee (Buena Vista/Disney) $1,755,507
10 Safe (Lions Gate) $1,447,174
11 Girl in Progress (Lions Gate) $1,384,078
12 The Raven (Relativity) $1,378,847
13 The Three Stooges (Fox) $1,078,339
14 The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate) $971,465
15 John Carter (Buena Vista/Disney) $766,217
16 21 Jump Street (Sony) $715,000
17 Mirror Mirror (Relativity) $645,109
18 American Reunion (Universal) $432,430
19 Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (Universal) $432,245
20 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (US Only) (MBox) $236,134