BOX OFFICE: ‘The Avengers’ Shatters All-Time Opening Weekend Record

Thanks to huge fan anticipation, boosted 3-D ticket prices, and the fact that there were five two-hour long commercials promoting its release, Marvel’s The Avengers has shattered to record for largest opening weekend Box Office of all-time. Leaving previous record-holders like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and The Dark Knight in its dust, The Avengers is about to finish the weekend with an estimated $200.3 million in the United States. That makes it the third highest grossing movie of 2012 after only one weekend.

It was a good weekend overall at the Box Office. Limited releases don’t get talked about much, but John Madden’s Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened at over $27,000 per screen for a strong weekend and independent film Bernie from director Richard Linklater and the documentary First Position both earned over $10,000 per screen.

Box Office Estimates
May 4-6, 2012

1) The Avengers (Opening)
WEEKEND: $200.3 million | TOTAL: $200.3 million

Despite having a lower opening day than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, The Avengers dominated on Saturday and Sunday to beat Potter’s weekend total by more than $30 million. This film has already taken frontrunner status as the film to beat in 2012 and its only likely challenger, The Dark Knight Rises, will have a tough battle to fight, especially since Nolan refuses to release his films in 3-D (bless him). Now another question raised is whether or not The Avengers will be The Hunger Games to $400 million to become the first film of the year to do so. It seems inevitable that the Marvel film will pass that landmark, but the question is when? I have a feeling there are records yet to be broken.

2) Think Like a Man (3rd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $8 million | TOTAL: $73 million

It’s thanks in most part to The Avengers that this weekend was the highest grossing of 2012, but an $8 million pull for the second place film shows that the other screens at the megaplex were not empty. Considering this film was made for a small $12 million, it has shown considerable strength at the Box Office and can already be considered a big success for the studio.

3) The Hunger Games (7th Weekend)
WEEKEND: $5.7 million | TOTAL: $380.7 million

While The Avengers was raking in the big money this weekend, The Hunger Games was quietly inching closer to $400 million. It will have a more difficult time achieving that landmark now that Summer movie season has begun and there is a new significant release almost every weekend. I would bet in 5 weeks it will get there just as The Avengers is doing the same.

4) The Lucky One (3rd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $5.5 million | TOTAL: $47.9 million

This film has passed Nights in Rodanthe to become the fifth highest grossing movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book. I am surprised they don’t use that in the television commercial: “The movie the Los Angeles Times calls ‘pure of heart’ is now the fifth highest grossing movie of all-time*!”

* When considering only movies that are based on Nicholas Sparks books, which are really the only movies that matter.

5) The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2nd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $5.4 million | TOTAL: $18.6 million

I can’t imagine that The Avengers took away from the Pirates! audience, so that does not explain the fact that this film moved from 2nd to 5th while movies ahead of it stayed in place. It’s more likely due to the fact that Pirates! is on more screens, so a larger per screen average decrease affects it more. Also, some 3-D screens were probably moved to make way for the overwhelming Avengers demand.

6) The Five Year Engagement (2nd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $5.1 million | TOTAL: $19.2 million

This is proving to be the least successful movie of Nick Stoller’s career (behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek). I’m not sure the cause of that, but I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that the release was too close to Summer while his other movies came earlier in the year when there was less competition.

7) The Raven (2nd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $2.5 million | TOTAL: $12 million

I am surprised that an action movie loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe is not doing better at the Box Office. No wait…I’m not surprised. At all.

8) Safe (2nd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $2.5 million | TOTAL: $12.9 million

With a drop of 68.7% in its second weekend, Safe is this week’s biggest loser. This also has a pretty low per theatre average, which means once it loses screens it will drop significantly. Don’t expect it to be in the top ten again next weekend.

9) Chimpanzee (3rd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $2.4 million | TOTAL: $23 million

This weekend’s gross makes Chimpanzee the second highest grossing film in Disneynature’s repertoire. It’s only a few million behind Earth, but probably won’t earn enough to pass it.

10) The Three Stooges (4th Weekend)
WEEKEND: $1.8 million | TOTAL: $39.6 million

This medium budget comedy will likely end its run at just over $40 million, which is not too bad considering how awful the trailer looked.

Estimates are courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Look for The Avengers to reign supreme for a second weekend next week while Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows makes a strong play and settles in at number two.

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