The Avengers to reach $1 billion this weekend? That's certainly a possibility, depending on how steep the Marvel superhero movie will drop at the global box office. As of Thursday, May 10, The Avengers' worldwide gross stood at $803.31m: $533.3 million international and $270.01 million domestic. It needs $196.69 million to reach $1 billion.
This weekend, The Avengers is expected to collect anywhere between $80-98 million at the North American box office. If those predictions are correct, the action flick will need to rake in close to $100m at the international box office. That's not impossible, but it would mean a quite modest 35 percent drop-off rate: last weekend, The Avengers' earned an estimated $157.4 million overseas, partly because it opened in two major markets, China ($17.4m) and Russia ($17.9m). Japan is the only major market left; The Avengers will open there in August.
The Avengers is currently no. 32 on Box Office Mojo's all-time worldwide chart (not adjusted for inflation or currency fluctuations), between Shrek the Third ($799m) and Roland Emmerich / Will Smith's Independence Day ($817.4m). By Sunday evening, The Avengers will surely be among the top 15 movies, somewhere near Chris Columbus / Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($974.8m) and Johnny Depp / Orlando Bloom's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($963.4m). (In terms of actual ticket sales, remember also that unlike The Avengers, most movies on the chart didn't have the advantage of box-office-boosting surcharges from 3D and widespread IMAX screenings.)
The Avengers: Propelled by the International Market
As per Box Office Mojo, The Avengers' biggest international territories to date are: the United Kingdom ($54 million), Mexico ($40.7 million), Brazil ($33.9 million), Australia ($33.2), and South Korea ($31.8m). In fact, without the international market, a megabudgeted movie like The Avengers would never get made.
Distributed by Disney (but with former Marvel distributor Paramount getting a cut of the grosses), The Avengers cost a reported $220m, not including worldwide marketing / distribution expenses. The total price tag for the film could easily reach $350m or higher. Usually, studios earn about 50-55 percent of the domestic box office gross, and 40 percent of international grosses. That translates into approximately $348 million net worldwide for The Avengers to date.
But then there is income from VOD, DVD/Blu-ray, Cable/TV rights, tie-ins, merchandise, games (a console videogame is rumored to be in development), perhaps even a Disneyland ride or two. And that's likely where Disney, Marvel, and Paramount will make most of their money from The Avengers.
Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers features Captain America: The First Avenger's Chris Evans as Captain America, Sherlock Holmes' Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, The Kids Are All Right's Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Vicky Cristina Barcelona's Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, and Snow White and the Huntsman's Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Also: The Bourne Legacy's Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, The Deep Blue Sea's Tom Hiddleston as Loki, The Storm Awaits' Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Pulp Fiction's Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Shakespeare in Love's Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, and Much Ado About Nothing's Clark Gregg as agent Phil Coulson.
And finally: Stellan Skarsgård, Powers Boothe, Alexis Denisof, veteran Jenny Agutter (Walkabout / Logan's Run), and Deep End director / Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski, in addition to the voices of Paul Bettany and Lou Ferrigno.
Chris Evans / The Avengers photo: Zade Rosenthal / Walt Disney Studios.