'The Avengers' breaks 'The Dark Knight,' 'Avatar' box office record
May 13, '12, update: The all-star Marvel superhero flick The Avengers has indeed broken another box office record this weekend (May 11–13, '12) in North America.
And that's not all. In case studio estimates are accurate, Joss Whedon's super-hit has passed the $1 billion milestone worldwide – after 19 days out.
At 4,349 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, The Avengers collected an estimated $103.2 million, down a relatively modest 50 percent compared to the previous, record-breaking weekend – which also included midnight screenings.
That's the biggest “second weekend” gross ever, far surpassing the take of the James Cameron-Sam Worthington sci-fi/actioner Avatar (2009) and the Christopher Nolan-Christian Bale Batman movie The Dark Knight (2008), which brought in, respectively, $75.61 million (about the same in 2012 dollars) and $75.16 million (approx. $82 million today) according to Box Office Mojo.
Even taking 3D and IMAX surcharges into account, The Avengers would still remain quite a bit ahead of the inflation-adjusted, modestly IMAX'ed (94 screens on the first weekend) 2D The Dark Knight.
$300 million domestic milestone: Ahead or behind 'The Dark Knight'?
Additionally, with a cume of $342 million The Avengers passed the $300 million milestone at the domestic box office on Saturday – its ninth day out, thus officially surpassing The Dark Knight's current ten-day record for reaching $300 million in the U.S. and Canada.
Minor detail: Movie inflation plays a key role here. The Dark Knight's inflation-adjusted take on Day 9 would be approx. $316 million, and if 3D surcharges are taken into account, The Dark Knight quite likely sold more tickets: the aforementioned inflation-adjusted $316 million vs. The Avengers' 3D-surcharge-deducted $299 million* on Day 9.
* Guesstimate based on reports that The Avengers earned 52 percent of its first weekend's box office take from 3D showings. The percentage may have been different on the film's second weekend. Also, 3D surcharges estimated at an additional 30 percent.
'The Avengers' $1 billion worldwide?
As for The Avengers having reached $1 billion at the worldwide box office, well, it all depends on whether or not Disney's estimates are accurate. The Avengers' domestic total is estimated at $373.18 million; its international cume stands at an estimated $628.9 million after earnings of $95.4 million this weekend. Worldwide total: $1.002.8 billion.
So, it's certainly possible that the $1 billion mark has been reached, especially considering that Disney's domestic estimates were too low last weekend.
Either way, The Avengers is undeniably one of the biggest global blockbusters ever.
'Dark Shadows' is a domestic flop: Will it be ultimately saved like 'The Tourist'?
May 12, '12, update: Dark Shadows isn't about to break any box office records. The latest Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration – also featuring Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloë Grace Moretz – opened with a disappointing $9.72 million (including $550,000 from Thursday midnight screenings) at 3,755 North American locations.
Dark Shadows is expected to finish its first domestic weekend with $27-28 million – or less than the amount ($29.1 million) The Avengers earned on its second Friday out.
Dark Shadows distributor Warner Bros. had been expecting at the very least a $35 million opening weekend. Burton and Depp's previous collaboration, Alice in Wonderland, debuted with $116 million in March 2010. Making matters worse for Dark Shadows (and Warner Bros.): as per Deadline.com, the film's budget is pegged at $150-175 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses.
Unless the international market comes to the rescue – a possibility, as Johnny Depp is a major box office draw overseas – Dark Shadows may turn out to be one of the year's biggest bombs.
But then again, it may turn out to be another The Tourist: lambasted by critics in North America, the Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck-directed spy caper starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie raked in a mere $67.63 million in the U.S. and Canada, but went on to earn $210.71 million internationally.
Zac Efron romantic drama passes $50 million mark
According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, rounding out the top five movies in North America on Friday were:
- Think Like a Man with $1.57 million; $6.5 million weekend estimate.
Cast: Michael Ealy. Jerry Ferrara.
- The Lucky One with $1.28 million; $4.1 million weekend.
Cast: Zac Efron. Taylor Schilling.
- The Hunger Games with $1.2 million; $4.3 million weekend.
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence. Josh Hutcherson. Liam Hemsworth. Woody Harrelson. Donald Sutherland.
The Lucky One has thus passed the $50 million mark on Day 22.
Rounding out the Top Twelve on Friday were the following:
- The Five-Year Engagement with $951,000.
Cast: Jason Segel. Emily Blunt.
- The Pirates! Band of Misfits with $740,000.
Voice Cast: Hugh Grant.
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with $1.73 million at only 178 locations.
Cast: Judi Dench. Maggie Smith. Dev Patel. Bill Nighy. Tom Wilkinson. Celia Imrie.
- Girl in Progress with $409,000. The Lionsgate release scored a meager $1,270 average at 322 theaters.
Cast: Eva Mendes.
- The Raven with $401,000.
Cast: John Cusack.
- The documentary Chimpanzee with $387,000.
- Safe with $382,000.
Cast: Jason Statham.
'The Avengers' to reach $1 billion worldwide?
May 11, '12: The Avengers to reach $1 billion this weekend (May 11–13, '12)? 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 $803.31 million: $533.3 million internationally 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 these predictions are correct, the action flick will need to rake in close to $100 million 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 ($17.4 million) and Russia ($17.9 million).
Japan is the only major market left. The Avengers opens there in August.
'The Avengers' among top 15 movies ever?
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 ($799 million) and the juvenile Roland Emmerich sci-fier Independence Day ($817.4 million), starring Will Smith and Bill Pullman.
By Sunday evening, The Avengers will surely be among the top 15 movies, somewhere near the Chris Columbus-Daniel Radcliffe fantasy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($974.8 million) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($963.4 million), toplining Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.
In terms of actual ticket sales, remember 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 million).
- South Korea ($31.8 million).
Note: Figures for China and Russia aren't up to date.
Without the international market, a mega-budget movie like The Avengers would never get made.
Mega-profits for mega-budget production?
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios (but with former Marvel distributor Paramount getting a cut of the grosses), The Avengers cost a reported $220 million, not including worldwide marketing and distribution expenses. The total price tag for the film could easily reach $350 million or higher.
As a rule of thumb, 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.
'Dark Shadows' gloomy midnight box office
Early May 11, '12: The latest Tim Burton-Johnny Depp joint movie effort, 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 The Hunger Games or Joss Whedon's superhero ensemble The Avengers would be not only cruel but downright unfair.
For although the previous Burton-Depp collaboration Alice in Wonderland was a huge hit, opening with $116 million in March 2010, Burton's campy version of the late '60s Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows has a different sort of appeal.
Deadline reports that based on matinee figures, Dark Shadows is expected to collect $27–$30 million from 3,755 locations over the weekend, or up to 10–20 percent less than the Andrew Stanton-Taylor Kitsch domestic box office disaster John Carter and the low-budget sleeper hit Think Like a Man, both of which collected about $500,000 at midnight screenings and went on to open in the low $30 million range earlier this year.
Dark Shadows currently has a weak 39 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Its average rating is 5.6/10.
'Dark Shadows' cast
In addition to Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows features:
Three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer (supporting for Dangerous Liaisons, 1988; lead for The Fabulous Baker Boys, 1989, and Love Field, 1992) as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street actress and two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter (lead for The Wings of the Dove, 1997; supporting for The King's Speech, 2010) as Dr. Julia Hoffman.
Chloë Grace Moretz, who was recently cast in the Carrie remake (in the old Sissy Spacek role), as Carolyn Stoddard.
Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard. Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins. Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters. Gulliver McGrath as David Collins. Ray Shirley as Mrs. Johnson
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children, 2006) as Willie Loomis.
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, 2008).
Veteran rocker Alice Cooper.
'Dark Shadows' TV series
The TV series Dark Shadows featured the following:
- Jonathan Frid in the Johnny Depp role of the returning vampire Barnabas.
- Nancy Barrett in the Chloë Grace Moretz role.
- Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Grayson Hall (The Night of the Iguana, 1964) in the Helena Bonham Carter role.
- Veteran Joan Bennett (Little Women, Scarlet Street, Father of the Bride) in the Michelle Pfeiffer role.
'The Avengers' cast
The all-star The Avengers features:
- Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Captain America.
- Scarlett Johansson (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) as the Black Widow.
- Leonardo DiCaprio's Shutter Island costar and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right, 2010) as the Incredible Hulk.
- Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the Huntsman) as Thor.
- Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Iron Man 2 actor and two-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. (lead for Chaplin, 1992; supporting for Tropic Thunder, 2008) as Iron Man.
- Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and The Bourne Legacy actor and two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (lead for The Hurt Locker, 2009; supporting for The Town, 2010) as Hawkeye.
- Tom Hiddleston (The Deep Blue Sea, War Horse) as Loki.
- Best Actress Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love, 1998) as Pepper Potts.
- Clark Gregg (Much Ado About Nothing) as agent Phil Coulson.
- Cobie Smulders (The Storm Awaits) as Maria Hill.
- Unthinkable performer and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, 1994) as Nick Fury.
- Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia!).
- Powers Boothe (The Emerald Forest).
- Alexis Denisof (Angel).
- The voices of Paul Bettany and Lou Ferrigno.
- Veteran Jenny Agutter (Walkabout, Logan's Run).
- Deep End director, Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski.
Chris Evans as Captain America in The Avengers: Zade Rosenthal / Marvel / Walt Disney Studios.
Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp Dark Shadows images: Peter Mountain / Leah Gallo / Warner Bros.
Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., and Jeremy Renner The Avengers image: Marvel / Walt Disney Studios.