The Avengers’ box-office reign continues as it keeps breaking records left and right. Avid box-office followers are now witnessing things that seemed unfathomable just a few years ago such as a second weekend gross above $100 million – a figure that is still hard to grasp. With only one wide opener, Dark Shadows, which also opened to disappointing results and thanks to Mother’s Day boost, the holdovers have recovered well after the beating they have received by The Avengers last weekend. With no strong new films out, the Top 12 cume dropped 35.4% to $161.2 million. The number still handily makes it the biggest second weekend in May ever. The Top 12 gross was also up a healthy 25.1% from the same weekend last year when Marvel’s Thor reigned for the second weekend in a row and Bridesmaids opened at #2. With three wide releases next weekend, all promising to deliver at least solid results we’re in for a huge May.
As expected The Avengers #1 spot remained unchallenged this weekend as the #2 movie made just a bit more than a quarter of The Avengers’ second weekend gross. And what a gross that is! The Avengers slid down just 50.3% in its sophomore weekend and added another $103.2 million to its total, bringing the running cume to $373.2 million after just ten days. It is an unimaginable success story, already making the superhero ensemble film a lock for $600 million by the end of its second weekend. As impressive and mind-boggling as the film’s $207.4 million opening was, I’d dare to say that its second weekend gross and its hold are even more impressive than that. Needless to say that The Avengers simply pulverized the second weekend gross record previously held by Avatar ($75.6 million). It also became the first movie ever to pass $100 million in its second weekend. To put it into perspective – The Avengers’ second weekend would still count as the 19th biggest opening ever domestically! Never has the second weekend record been broken by such a gigantic margin in terms of pure gross. Avatar has barely edged out The Dark Knight by less than $1 million for the record and The Dark Knight has taken the record from Shrek 2, topping it by $3 million. Shrek 2 in turn topped the previous record, held by Spider-Man by less than a million whereas Spider-Man took the record from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by delivering a weekend $14 million higher. The Avengers topped Avatar’s number by over $27 million - an increase of 36.4%! That is the highest increase of the second weekend record since Batman topped Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’s second weekend by over 40%.
This is obviously not the only record that the fastest-grossing movie of all-time has posted so far. It has reached $300 million within just nine days, beating the previous record-holder The Dark Knight by a day. It also reached $350 million in just 10 days, full four days faster than The Dark Knight. The pace at which this movie is making money is simply flabbergasting. By the end of its second weekend, it has already entered the domestic all-time Top 20 at #18 and has surpassed the unadjusted domestic totals of every single Avenger-related movie before it. Its domestic total is also above blockbusters like The Passion of the Christ, Jurassic Park and Finding Nemo. Another interesting fact about its gigantic second weekend is that its second Saturday gross was $43.1 million – beating the record second Saturday number previously held by Spider-Man for ten years by over $12 million. Interestingly enough, its second Saturday was higher than the first Saturday of the previous all-time biggest opener – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Another hugely impressive fact is how small the decline was after such mammoth opening weekend. Sure, it wasn’t the 37% drop as Spider-Man had in its second frame, but that was a different era for box-office and the film had even less second weekend competition. It held just slightly worse than Iron Man and Thor in their second weekends and much better than other überblockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest or The Hunger Games. Its drop was even better than the 52.5% decline by The Dark Knight and that even though it lost a lot of its IMAX screens to Dark Shadows this weekend. The amazing word-of-mouth as indicated by the “A+” CinemaScore is already kicking in apparently. Moreover, the film’s huge opening weekend made the movie even more of a must-see for everyone than before, stirring up the hype to unimaginable heights. Not since Avatar has a movie achieved such a phenomenon-level in the media making it an obligatory viewing for most moviegoers. Next weekend might have a bit tougher competition in store for it as Universal’s Battleship will directly target The Avengers’ predominantly male audiences. However, with terrific WoM and likely even more media hype due to its gigantic second weekend, The Avengers should defend its #1 spot once again. A this point, passing $600 million and thus Titanic’s first run total seems like a given with the main question being how far beyond it will go and whether the all-time #2 spot or even Avatar’s #1 position are in any danger. While I am strongly inclined deny the latter, the former is certainly a possibility if the movie can hold well after the Memorial Day weekend and if nothing else breaks out in a huge fashion over the next weeks. Right now, a $620-650 million finish looks to be within its grasp, giving The Dark Knight Rises a tremendous challenge to overcome for the #1 spot of the domestic box-office this year.
Tim Burton’s most recent collaboration with Johnny Depp, the adaptation of the 1960s daytime soap Dark Shadows landed in the very distant #2 with a disappointing weekend cume of $28.8 million. The $150 million production averaged just $7,761 from 3,755 locations. This opening weekend is less than The Avengers’ second Friday and also below the opening day of Tim Burton’s last film, Alice in Wonderland ($40.8 million). The reason for the film’s relative failure at the US box-office might be twofold. On the one hand, the quirky horror-comedy might just not be a great sell for audiences while at the same time the reviews were less than enthusiastic and thus weren’t able to convince non-believers. On the other hand, The Avengers is currently stealing the thunder from all movies around it and diverts all attention to itself, leaving no room for other big films in the marketplace. It remains to be seen how Battleship, a much more direct competitor, will fare against the hype for such a behemoth. With a mediocre “B-“ CinemaScore and a lot of competition on the horizon, the future prospects for Dark Shadows are, well, dark. Burton’s films usually have a certain degree of frontloading to them due to the faithful fanbase the director has acquired over years. Considering that his new movie doesn’t seem to have much appeal beyond this fanbase and the WoM is far from strong, legs should be far from noteworthy. It should wind up with $70-75 million. For Burton it means his first outright domestic flop since Mars Attacks! over 15 years ago.
Think Like a Man could hugely benefit from Mother’s Day this weekend. It dropped to #3, but lost just 22.3% of its audiences in the process for a weekend gross of $6.3 million. Its running total now stands at $81.9 million pushing it past Wrath of the Titans on the yearly chart and making it the highest-grossing movie released in the time period between The Hunger Games and The Avengers. It is also officially the second-biggest film ever for ScreenGems. The number is just great for a heavily urban-oriented film and even though it will lose a lot of its female audiences to What to Expect When You’re Expecting next weekend and should soon disappear from most theatres, its run has been nothing but great. It is on course to finish with $95 million.
The Hunger Games doesn’t cease to amaze, even though its terrific performance has been overshadowed by The Avenges recently. The movie delivered the best hold among non-expanding movies in the Top 12 this weekend, dropping just 21.3%. This weekend’s #4 film grossed $4.4 million over the three-day period and now stands at an amazing $386.9 million. Having spent its 8th weekend in the Top 5, it marks the longest Top 5 streak since Avatar. It should however, drop out of the Top 5 next weekend which will see three potent openers. The problem the film will face now is that it should start losing screens and theatres at a swift pace now. For a movie to play in over 2,500 venues in its 8th weekend is simply amazing nowadays. I expect sharp drops in its theatre count over the next few weeks, though. Now it is up to Lionsgate to push it above $400 million which I firmly believe will happen. The Hunger Games should manage to get to $396-397 million completely by itself and LGF will make sure it gets pushed over the edge.
The 5th spot of the box-office went to the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Lucky One. The romantic drama garnered $4.1 million in its 4th weekend, down 24.5% from its previous frame. Its current total is $53.7 million. It is tracking almost on par with the Miley Cyrus-starring Sparks adaptation The Last Song which went on to finish with $63 million. With What to Expect When You’re Expecting looming next weekend, The Lucky One won’t quite get there, but given its estimated $25 million budget, it is already a great hit for Warner Bros. I project a $61 million total for it.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits recovered somewhat after its disappointing hold last weekend and lost two spots this time for a weekend take of $3.2 million (down 41.8%). In total it has collected $23.1 million from North American theatres so far. Luckily for Sony and Aardman the overseas grosses are definitely solid since the domestic performance is simply bad. The only thing it has going for it is the lack of direct family-oriented competition over the next few weeks, though The Avengers is getting most families anyway. I expect The Pirates! to lose most of its 3D screens to Men in Black 3 and Snow White and the Huntsman soon and thus not be able to develop any kind of decent legs. A $30 million finish lies in store for it.
The Five-Year Engagement dropped a spot to #7 as it dipped 38.4% to $3.1 million for a running total of $24.4 million. Given the talent involved, it is certainly a disappointment for Universal, even though with its $30 million budget it probably won’t lose them much money after overseas grosses are accounted for. I see it ending up with $32 million when all is said and done.
As one of the weekend’s biggest winners, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel claimed the 8th spot of the box-office in its second weekend as it expanded from 27 to 178 theatres and made $2.7 million over the weekend for an average of $14,888 per theatre. Its current total cume is $3.7 million. It is a terrific expansion for the film as the PTA dropped less than 50% despite the film having about 6.5 times as many theatres as last weekend. The final gross is hard to pinpoint now, but if Fox Searchlight plays it well (should give it a major expansion over the Memorial Day weekend), this feel-good movie with a top-notch British cast should end up as a great small-scale success story for them with a $35-50 million total.
Thanks to the Mother’s Day boost, Chimpanzee held on to the 9th spot of the box-office and dropped just 34.6% to $1.6 million. Its current cume stands at $25.6 million. It will wind up with a $29 million total by the end of its run.
Lionsgate’s Mother’s day release of Girl in Progress landed in the 10th spot this weekend. The Eva Mendes-starring dramedy delivered $1.4 million from 322 venues for a PTA of $4,193 mostly benefitting from the Mother’s Day boost. Its run after the weekend should be cut short by What to Expect When You’re Expecting. If lucky, it will reach a $3 million total.
The Raven dropped to #11 this weekend after making $1.3 million (down 50.7%) and bringing its running total to $14.6 million. It should settle for a $16 million finish.
The Jason Statham actioner Safe dropped 52.4% to $1.3 million and #12 of the box-office. Its 17-day total stands at $15.5 million and it will end up with $17 million in the bank.