No Dark Shadows on Marvel's Avengers
By John Hamann
May 13, 2012
When we left off last Sunday, The Avengers was estimated at a record-breaking $200.4 million. I had a discussion with some friends that Disney had estimated it over the $200 million mark for show, and it would drop back when the actual number came out. It didn't. On Monday, we realized the actual figure for the weekend was $207.4 million, an indication of how powerful The Avengers was over Saturday and Sunday last week. Would the juggernaut slow in weekend two? If so, what would success look like for the all-of-a-sudden ruler of the cinematic universe? Oh, and Dark Shadows opened as well, but it would seem that most people treated it like I did – as an afterthought.
What an odd position for a movie to be in. Despite The Avengers being in its second frame this weekend, a decent drop would still have it competing with some of the biggest first-weekend openers of all time. Usually, when a movie debuts big, I end up asking myself how much it will fall in the second frame. After a $207.4 million opening, I now find myself asking how will it hold. Would The Avengers drop 60%? More? It's no secret that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 dropped 72% following its (former) record-breaking weekend. While true, the former number two biggest opener, The Dark Knight, fell only 52.5% following its $158.4 million opening. No film has ever earned more than $100 million in its second weekend – not even close. Avatar earned $75.6 million in its second outing, and the The Dark Knight is second at $75.2 million. To drop to those levels, The Avengers would have to drop roughly 64% from its opening weekend gross. With the media coverage, the box office record, and an A+ Cinemascore, I knew a second weekend drop as high as 64% was likely out of the question, and instead was left hoping for a drop better than 51.8%, as that decline would score it at $100 million over its second weekend.
Friday night was the key for The Avengers. A Friday figure around $30 million would likely be enough to carry it to $100 million; however, the number came in at an estimated $29.1 million, enough to make the chase toward a $100 million second weekend very interesting. To earn that $100 million, we now knew that The Avengers would need a weekend multiplier (total weekend divided by Friday) of 3.43, which is quite high when dealing with these lofty amounts. The Dark Knight's second weekend multiplier was 3.23; if we applied that multiplier to The Avengers' Friday gross, the weekend take would come in at $94.1 million, which demonstrates the large difference two-tenths of a point can make.
The Avengers had a few things going for it as it reached for the higher multiplier. The Avengers had a stronger opening weekend multiplier than The Dark Knight did at 2.95, as the formula looked like this last weekend: $207.4 million (weekend actual) - $18.7 million (midnight showings) = 188.7 million/($80.5 million Friday – 18.7 million midnights) $61.8 million = 3.05 multiplier. Also in favor of a higher Avengers multiplier was the release date. With kids still in school, the target audience for a film like this can't attend daytime screenings on Fridays, whereas when The Dark Knight came out in July, it didn't face the same issue due to summer vacation. So, there was reason to believe that The Avengers would have a better second weekend multiplier. If so, The Avengers would do the impossible and reach $100 million over days eight, nine, and ten.