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Box Office: DARK SHADOWS vs. THE AVENGERS

Johnny Depp Dark Shadows Michelle Pfeiffer Chloe Grace Moretz Eva Green
Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman, Chloë Grace Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard, Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard, Gulliver McGrath as David Collins, Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters, Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, Ray Shirley as Mrs. Johnson, Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis, Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Dark Shadows

Tim Burton / Johnny Depp’s Dark Shadows is off to a middling start, earning $550,000 at Thursday midnight screenings in North America. Comparing the box office performance of Dark Shadows to those of, say, Jennifer Lawrence’s eagerly awaited The Hunger Games or Joss Whedon’s superhero ensemble The Avengers would be not only cruel but downright unfair.

Although the previous Burton / Depp collaboration, Alice in Wonderland, was a humongous hit, opening with $116 million in March 2010, Burton’s campy version of the late ’60s soap opera Dark Shadows has a different sort of appeal. Deadline.com reports that as per matinee figures, Dark Shadows is expected to collect $27m-$30m over the weekend, or up to 10-20 percent less than Andrew Stanton / Taylor Kitsch’s John Carter and Michael Ealy / Jerry Ferrara’s Think Like a Man, both of which collected about $500k at midnight screenings and opened in the low $30m range earlier this year.

Dark Shadows vs. The Avengers box office

Dark Shadows will be screening at 3,755 North American locations, but it has absolutely no chance of landing on the top spot. That belongs to The Avengers, which, as per Deadline, is expected to rake in $80m. If so, The Avengers will be down about 61 percent compared to its record-breaking performance last weekend.

Box Office Mojo’s Ray Subers is expecting Dark Shadows to open with $33.3 million and The Avengers to earn $95.4 million (-54 percent).

Dark Shadows currently has a weak 39 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics. Its average rating is 5.6/10.

In addition to Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows features three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jonny Lee Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote, Gulliver McGrath, Alice Cooper, Michael Shannon, and veteran Hammer Dracula Christopher Lee.

The TV series Dark Shadows featured Jonathan Frid in the Johnny Depp role of the returning vampire Barnabas; Nancy Barrett in the Chloë Grace Moretz role; 1964 Oscar nominee Grayson Hall (The Night of the Iguana) in the Helena Bonham Carter role; and veteran Joan Bennett (Little Women, Scarlet Street, Father of the Bride) in the Michelle Pfeiffer role.

The Avengers cast includes Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Clark Gregg, Powers Boothe, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jenny Agutter.

Michelle Pfeiffer / Johnny Depp / Eva Green / Chloë Grace Moretz / Jackie Earle Haley Dark Shadows photo: Leah Gallo / Warner Bros.

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