Update: According to THR The Avengers grossed $80.5 million on Friday (the second biggest Friday opening of all time) and now has a shot at debuting at $170 million, which will be the biggest opening of all time in North America. The movie may hit just under $600 million worldwide by Sunday.
The Avengers opens today in North America and after years of anticipation, the hype level is at an all-time high. Critics are universally praising the superhero flick and those that saw it already are saying it more than lives up to the hype (which is very hard to believe, I know). So a question remains, how far can The Avengers go, best opening weekend of all time maybe?
Well a lot seem to think The Avengers can indeed break the opening weekend record of $169.2 million set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in July 2011. For starters the film debuts in 4349 theaters which is the 7th widest release ever and according to Deadline, online ticket seller Fandango reported over 1000 sold-out shows in advance for the midnight opening. The cards are definitely on the table here and The Avengers has a very good chance to take the record, that being said, I won’t jump on that bandwagon just yet. I’d much rather be surprised then disappointed so I’m going a bit lower on this one.
But first let me breakdown the Avengers films so far. Back in 2008 Iron Man opened with $98.6 million and went on to gross $318.4 million while Iron Man 2 had $128.1 million and $312.4 million. The Incredible Hulk (starring Edward Norton instead of Mark Ruffalo, used in The Avengers) made $55.4 million on its debut and finished with $134.8 million. A year later, Thor opened with $65.7 million and stopped at $181 million while Captain America: The First Avenger had a $65 million start and $176.6 million at the end. Apparently The Avengers is ahead of all those films combined when it comes to pre-sold tickets so I’ll will give it $165 million this weekend, just barely missing the opening record. Alas, secretly I’m hoping it actually ends up with more, a lot more.
As you might expect, there is no other new wide release for the weekend so in 2nd place there can only be Think Like a Man, leader twice in a row. I figure $8 million sounds about right here.
3rd place is rather difficult to predict so I’ll just give you the names, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Five-Year Engagement, The Hunger Games (in no particular order) and a number $6 million or so for each of them.
Next week Tim Burton and Johnny Depp reunite in Dark Shadows and while it should do good business, I bet The Avengers remains on top.