Weekend Forecast for May 11-13, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
May 11, 2012
Thus, barring a collapse like we've never seen in history, The Avengers will have a second reign atop the box office charts. The list of superlatives describing its take last weekend could get tedious, but here's a few amazing stats – it has three of the top 15 days in box office history, including #2 and #5; in just three days it became the 109th highest grossing film in history, besting the entire domestic runs of films like Ratatouille, Armageddon and Superman Returns; in just its first four weekdays (Monday through Thursday), it will have matched the domestic run of John Carter so far. Now here's the scary thing – this film might have legs.
With ecstatic word-of-mouth and the loyalty of rapturous fanboys who'll sign up for repeat viewings, The Avengers has a shot at dominating several weeks of box office and rewriting the record books. Not beating Avatar for having the highest second weekend at the box office would mean a drop of over 63% – which is possible. Some context seems necessary here – any film with significant midnight screenings isn't going to have a great percentage drop by the usual standards. Look at the most recent example, The Hunger Games, which shed almost two thirds of its initial box office, but has kept churning along ever since, and will be close to $400 million by the time its run is over, due to what must be some repeat viewings.
In terms of actual ticket numbers, thanks to 3D and IMAX pricing, the number of people that actually saw the film this weekend probably isn't that much higher than some other past blockbusters like The Dark Knight or Harry Potter, so there's still the same theoretical audience out there. The unusually flat drops across the weekend also show some promise – just an 18% hit from Saturday to Sunday – that this could be a film with some staying power. A really terrible overall performance from this point would leave it with around $450 million, so we're dealing with some rarefied air. A second weekend of about $87 million is probably in the cards here.
Thanks to the typical running scared mentality that rules May, that's pretty much the end of the line for significant films this week. Think Like a Man should lead all other returning films with a modest $4 million, and may be able to reach $90 million total, which is a great figure for a previously unheralded film. The Hunger Games, as mentioned, is shooting for the $400 million milestone, and should add about $3 million this weekend. Joining it at around that amount are The Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Lucky One and Five-Year Engagement. With the tenth place film like sitting at around $1.5 million, it'd be a great weekend for something in limited release to sneak up on people and get some press. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel would seem to be the likeliest candidate, as it expands to over 150 screens, and finished 16th last weekend.