The Avengers may be poised to break another box office record. On its second Friday out, the Joss Whedon-directed superhero movie starring Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, among others, collected an estimated $29.lm at 4,349 theaters in North America.
According to Box Office Mojo, that's the biggest "second Friday" gross ever, surpassing Christopher Nolan / Christian Bale's The Dark Knight, which took in $23.2 million in summer 2008 (approximately $25.3 in 2012 dollars). Of course, The Avengers has the advantage of 3D surcharges, and it has been showing at many more higher-priced IMAX screens than The Dark Knight ever was.
If 3D is factored in (a guesstimate of about 50 percent of Friday's tickets sales – as was the case last weekend; 30 percent average surcharge) then The Avengers' box office take (to reflect actual ticket sales) goes down to approx. $25 million – or about the same level as the inflation-adjusted The Dark Knight. If IMAX surcharges are factored in as well, chances are The Dark Knight remains ahead of The Avengers in actual "second Friday" attendance.
And if The Avengers does indeed earn $100 million this weekend as some expect, that'll mark a truly record-breaking second weekend, quite a bit ahead of James Cameron / Sam Worthington's Avatar and The Dark Knight, which earned, respectively, $75.61 million (about the same in 2012 dollars) and $75.16 million (approx. $82 million today). If $100 million is reached, The Avengers will remain ahead of The Dark Knight even if 3D surcharges are taken into account; The Avengers 3D-deducted take would go down to $87.5 million.
Additionally, The Avengers should pass the $300 million milestone at the domestic box office on Saturday – its ninth day out, thus surpassing The Dark Knight's current ten-day record. Never mind the fact that movie inflation plays a key role here: The Dark Knight's inflation-adjusted take on Day 9 would be approx. $316 million.
Ah, and finally, I should add that The Avengers could well reach another milestone this weekend: $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Not guaranteed, but definitely not an impossibility.
The Avengers features Captain America: The First Avenger's Chris Evans as Captain America, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Shutter Island's Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2's Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, and Snow White and the Huntsman's Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Also: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol's Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, War Horse's Tom Hiddleston as Loki, The Storm Awaits' Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Unthinkable'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 as Captain America / Chris Hemsworth as Thor / The Avengers photo: Zade Rosenthal / Walt Disney Studios.