“I hear you’re good with numbers…”
–Bob Gunton (The Shawshank Redemption)
April 30th, 2012
There really not much of a conversation beyond the obvious this weekend. The Avengers assembled, and geek culture reached some point of ascendency over pop culture that 20 years from now we’ll be able to look back and mark as… something. Was it a peak? Was it the true beginning of something? I’m not sure, frankly. But it’s definitely something. Let’s dig in.
1. The Avengers ($207 million)
[Total: $207 million | Worldwide: $642m | Budget: $220m]
Before we start let’s note that there are reports of an even better Sunday hold than expected, pushing the total to $207 and the worldwide total past $650m. They just can’t count the money fast enough!
So here’s a quick rundown of what records $200m in one weekend buys you, and what they were taken from.
• Best All-Time Weekend (Harry Potter 7.2)
• Best Marvel-Branded Opening Weekend (Spider-Man 3)
• Best Saturday Ever (Spider-Man)
• Best Sunday Ever (The Dark Knight)
• Fastest To $100, $150, $200m (Potter 7.2, Potter 7.2, Dark Knight)
• #477th Slowest Film To $100m (Potter 7.2)
• Best PG-13 Opening Weekend (Potter 7.2)
• #3 Worldwide Opening (Potter 7.2 and Potter 6 keep #1 and #2)
• Best Opening Weekend Of All Time in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Central America, Peru, Bolivia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines.
And my favorite, genuinely notable record broken:
Best Per-Theatre Average For A Wide Release (Miley Cyrus / Hannah Montana Concert Doc)
It’s also worth nothing that while it has only the 7th Biggest Opening Screen Count of all time, it’s a mere 118 theaters shy of Twilight: Eclipse‘s 4,468 theatre release.
That’s all in addition to the endlessly fragmented records like “Best May Opening” and a whole host of IMAX-related records. 3D accounted for a hair over half the grosses.
So who could have seen this coming? We all saw a massive weekend coming, we all saw broken records coming. But being the first film to break $200m domestic in a single weekend? That truly speaks to how effectively Disney sold this film as a gateway rather than a culmination. Avengers was sold as a way to meet these characters you’d been hearing so much about or were vaguely aware of just as much as being sold as the tentpole result of half a dozen movies before it. That accessibility factor — the kind of thing that made my parents excited to go see it in IMAX with me despite not catching Thor or Captain at all, and Iron Man only on TV — is what took this from a massive, record-breaking success to a MASSIVE, RECORD-SMASHING success.
This is definitely a triumph for both Marvel (duh) and Disney, who bent over backwards to buy out Paramount’s distribution deals on their remaining Marvel films (this and Iron Man 3). Supposedly Paramount will make north of $150m on this release without raising a finger, meanwhile Disney gets a beautiful, record-breaking release on their books. And then there’s Whedon, a long time competitor for King of the Nerds, who is now King of the Box Office. I’m sure this only begins a long, fruitful relationship with Marvel (though they have history of fucking such relationships up), meanwhile he’s now empowered to do whatever the fuck he wants for at least, I dunno, two or three projects easy.
This story is just being written as there’s a retarded international total being accumulated, more speed-records to break, and a clean, early slummer slate to dominate until, well, certainly Men In Black 3 at the end of the month. Dark Shadows won’t threaten it next weekend, and Battleship is unlikely to touch even the film’s third weekend total.
Just as a note, The Hunger Games currently sits at #98 on the All-Time Domestic Gross when adjusted for inflation. I would suspect The Avengers can do at least $400 without breaking a sweat, which will put it at #90 (just under Ghost). But how far can it climb beyond that? Will it beat the original Batman at #49 (right below Blazing Saddles with $495m), or could it even slide past The Dark Knight and cozy up right under Grease ($602m) at #26…? We’ll look back on that once the team disassembles.
1. Think Like A Man ($8 million)
[Total: $73 million | Worldwide: N/A | Budget: $12m
This was left with little but the hardcore lady fans I would expect, as certainly every dude in the picture above saw The Avengers, without question. The white dude on the right saw it four times, and was erect for the entirety of his first three trips.
4. The Hunger Games ($6 million)
[Total: $381 million | Worldwide: $617m | Budget: $78m]
The wind was gone from this film’s sails already but with The Avengers on all of our plates now, I don’t suspect this will manage the creep past $400 that it might have, had the early slummer slate been relatively quiet.
As a note for the young ladies looking up to Katniss, or others who took this film’s success as win for a girl-power icon, don’t let the superhero geeks (dudes, chicks or otherwise) vindictively sneer at The Avengers trouncing its opening and eventually its total… lest they forget that ole Katniss bagged the fourth highest opening of all time without a superhero team, seven films worth of magic, decades of comic books, or a legion of sexually confused, shiny adolescents to back it.
3. The Lucky One ($5.5 million)
[Total: $48 million | Worldwide: $66m | Budget: N/A]
Efron was totally AWOL at The Avengers this weekend.
2. Pirates! Band of Misfits ($5.5 million)
[Total: $18.5 million | Worldwide: $89m | Budget: $55m]
Again, was never going to connect much here, but those overseas numbers continue to healthily grow. This probably a nice counter-balance for all the extremely young children across the world whose parents didn’t think the violence of the Earth’s mightiest heroes was appropriate.
Battleship is petering out overseas as it crosses $200m, while American Reunion (!) comes in number two overseas. Here in the states, old-people comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel appealed to strong crowds in a mere 27 theaters, with averages suggesting that Fox Searchlight can effectively expand this title and draw some crowds to the theater that might not otherwise bother.
Thanks for reading!