Of course Tony Stark wasn’t satisfied with just one weekend of headlines!
After its record-demolishing $207.4 million debut last weekend, The Avengers easily stayed atop the box office in its second frame, soaring to $103.2 million (a drop of only 50 percent) over the Friday-to-Sunday period. That figure crushes the second weekend box office record, which was formerly held by Avatar with its $75.6 million sophomore frame.
Incredibly, The Avengers’ 50 percent drop is the smallest second-weekend decline of any film that achieved one of the Top 10 opening weekends of all time. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 fell by 72 percent after its $169.1 million debut. The Dark Knight dipped 53 percent after its $158.4 million start. The Hunger Games and Spider-Man 3 both sank by 62 percent after their debuts of $152.5 million and $151.1 million, respectively. Those sorts of drops are just expected when dealing with gargantuan openings like these, but Avengers started much higher and fell by much less – a clear indicator of positive audience reception.
The superhero ensemble, which has grossed $373.2 million total domestically, also broke a slew of other records this weekend as well. Not only did The Avengers score the best second Friday ($29.1 million), Saturday ($43.1 million), and Sunday ($30.9 million) in box office history, but it became the fastest film to ever pass $300 million on Saturday, its ninth day of release (The Dark Knight accomplished this in 10 days). And today, on its 10th day in North American theaters, Avengers became the fastest film to ever pass $350 million, zooming by The Dark Knight’s record of 14 days.
The only 2012 release that has earned more money than The Avengers is The Hunger Games, which has grossed $386.9 million after eight weekends in theaters. By this time next week, though, Avengers will have blown right by Katniss & Co. as it continues its ascent to at least $500 million, a milestone that is an absolute lock at this point. With remarkable word of mouth (the movie earned an “A+” CinemaScore grade), Avengers should continue to see modest drops in the weeks to come, and I won’t be surprised if it marches right past the $600 million mark.
Internationally, the film continue to impress, and after 19 days, it has grossed $628.9 million. That’s far more than the international totals of its predecessors: Captain America ($192 million), Iron Man ($266.7 million), Thor ($268.3 million), and Iron Man 2 ($311.5 million). Disney estimates that today The Avengers will pass the $1 billion mark globally.
Way back in second place was Warner Bros.’ $125 million TV adaptation Dark Shadows, which lacked bite with just $28.2 million in its debut. The Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration paled in comparison to their last picture together, Alice in Wonderland, which started with $116.1 million on its way to a $334.2 million finish – and more than $1 billion worldwide. Dark Shadows has no chance of reaching those heights, and it’s unlikely to reach $100 million domestically given its lackluster “B-” from moviegoers surveyed by CinemaScore. Audiences were likely turned off by ads that emphasized the vampire film’s quirky, offbeat humor – based on a 1970s gothic soap opera that most consumers never knew existed. In a world of Paul Blart Mall Cops and The Hangovers, quirky doesn’t really sell at the box office.
The rest of the Top 5 was made up of holdovers. Think Like a Man stuck around in third place, dipping just 22 percent to $6.3 million and lifting its total to $81.9 million. The Hunger Games fell by 21 percent in fourth place, taking in another $4.4 million. With $386.9 million total, Hunger Games has outgrossed every Harry Potter movie domestically (internationally, the franchise still has lots of room to grow). In its fourth weekend, The Lucky One scored another $4 million, a nice 24 percent drop. The Zac Efron romance has taken in a solid $53.7 million so far.
Two limited releases also made waves this weekend. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which stars Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Bill Nighy, checked in with $2.7 million after debuting in just 178 theaters – good enough for eighth place. Hotel earned a blazing $14,888 per-theater average, second only to The Avengers’ $23,721 average. Meanwhile, Eva Mendes’ dramedy Girl in Progress started off much slower with $1.4 million from 322 theaters and an unexciting $4,193 per-theater average. Thanks to the lack of new releases in theaters, that was enough for a 10th place finish.
1. The Avengers - $103.2 million
2. Dark Shadows - $28.2 million
3. Think Like A Man - $6.3 million
4. The Hunger Games - $4.4 million
5. The Lucky One - $4.0 million
Check back next week to find out whether Universal’s Battleship has a chance against The Avengers, and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute box office updates!