"The Avengers" Posts Record $207.4M Opening
Disney and Marvel gave summer a phenomenal start, as The Avengers posted the biggest opening in history. The superhero ensemble pic grossed an unbelievable $207.4M from saturation release in 4,394 theaters, including IMAX. The final was $7.1M better than originally estimated and trumped the previous record of $169.2M set by last July’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - another 3D action epic. Several other records were obliterated as well. The Avengers demolished Spider-Man 3’s $151.1M from 2007 to set new benchmarks for the month of May and Marvel Comics. The Dark Knight’s $158.4M was the previous best for a superhero pic, while Disney’s top bow was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($135.6M). However, the Spider-Man, Batman and Jack Sparrow flicks all lacked 3D surcharges.
The weekend kicked off with a spectacular $80.8M on Friday, which included $18.7M from showings. Both numbers were second to Potter’s $91.1M and $43.5M. However, the superhero epic was far less frontloaded than the wizard pic. Whereas the last Potter collapsed 54% on Saturday, The Avengers slipped a mere 14% to $69.5M, which is remarkably low for this kind of film. Sunday fell only 18% to $57M.
Backed by a sensational marketing campaign, The Avengers tapped into a built-in audience that had been groomed on the pair of Iron Man flicks, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Plus with so many April releases failing to generate excitement, audiences were ready for something huge. Disney also covered some spring losses by attaching sci-fi bomb John Carter as a double-bill at selected screenings. In fact, The Avengers opening day alone exceeded the Mars flop’s abysmal $70.5M total.
Reviews were glowing for The Avengers, with many calling one of the best superhero flicks ever. Though next weekend will see a typically large decline, a rare A+ at CinemaScore hints that a $500M tally is possible. Overseas, where the film began its run last weekend, the total has ballooned to a jaw-dropping $447.4M, giving the heroes a jaw-dropping global tally of $654.8M.
Against Marvel’s superheroes, holdovers had steep declines. After two weeks atop, Think Like a Man slipped to second with $8.1M. Sony’s battle-of-the-sexes comedy fell 54% and has an impressive $73.1M in 17 days. A final of $90-100M is in the works.
Despite intense competition, The Hunger Games had the top ten’s best hold, slipping 47% to $5.7M. Lionsgate has now reached $380.7M, putting the film a hair away from topping Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’s $381M final.
In fourth, Sony’s toon Pirates! A Band of Misfits tumbled 51% to $5.5M and a weak ten-day tally of $18.6M. The Lucky One dropped 50% to $5.3M, giving Warner Bros. a solid $47.7M in 17 days.
Below the top five, Universal’s The Five-Year Engagement fell 53% to $5M and a scrawny ten-day total of just $19.1M. Faring even worse, The Raven plummeted 64% to $2.6M, giving Relativity an abysmal $12.1M in ten days.
Disney’s Chimpanzee tumbled 54% to $2.48M and a $23.1M total. With the top ten’s worst hold, Safe collapsed 69% to $2.47M, putting Lionsgate at a mere $12.9M in ten days.
Rounding out the top ten, Fox’s The Three Stooges dropped 65% to $1.8M and a $39.6M total.
Posting terrific results in limited release, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel grossed a wonderful $737,051 from just 27 theaters. Fox Searchlight’s British dramedy drew good reviews and has a global gross of $72.4M. The film will expand in the coming weeks.
Compared to projections, The Avengers went beyond my already-sensational $163M prediction.
Opening next weekend: Dark Shadows.