Shop Talk: The Avengers

By David Mumpower

May 16, 2012

They're nervous and their socks are too loose.

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Day number 12 for The Avengers ended just as the first 11 had. The Joss Whedon juggernaut finished in first place yet again with another $8.48 million, giving it a domestic total of $389.47 million. If you’re scoring at home (and that would be weird), yesterday was when The Avengers surpassed The Hunger Games to become the number one film of 2012. The Hunger Games has accrued a massive $387.87 million in 54 days. The Avengers caught up in less than two weeks, which is exceptional demonstration of the scalding pace of the movie featuring Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Last weekend, Kim Hollis and I mentioned the possibility that The Avengers could pass $400 million by Wednesday or Thursday. It will fall short on Wednesday by $3-4 million. On Thursday, it will become the fastest movie to $400 million, beating The Dark Knight’s extraordinary 18 days by four days. In the summer of 2008, BOP was inundated with queries from Batfans regarding whether it would overtake Titanic. There were any number of untoward comments involving my (apparently questionable) parental lineage as I described why that was unlikely. Oddly, Avatar failed to generate quite the same level as excitement, presumably because the chase occurred in January and early February, a time of lowered box office interest.

Whether The Avengers will take a run at Avatar remains to be seen. At this point, however, it is a foregone conclusion to exceed The Dark Knight as the most popular comic book movie of all time. I will explain why in just a moment. First, I would like to add that The Avengers has the opportunity to do what Batman could not: overtake the Titanic. In fact, what prevents this from being a foregone conclusion was the seemingly pointless re-release earlier this year. The Avengers is quite likely to break $600 million, but James Cameron recently moved the bar to $658.4 million (and still has another couple of million to go). Avatar, you may remember, finished with an unimaginable $760.5 million. The Dark Knight’s final domestic take was $533.3 million. Keeping these totals in mind, let’s examine The Avengers.


You probably know by now that The Avengers fell 50.3% this past weekend from $207.4 million to $103.1 million. Its staying power on Monday and Tuesday of its second week was not quite as impressive, but we’re splitting hairs at this level of box office dominance. After earning $36.58 million the first two days of last week, The Avengers fell 55.2% to $16.40 million so far this week. The good news is that most of that decline fell from Monday to Monday, which isn’t unusual for any mega-opener. The 52% Tuesday-Tuesday drop is right in line with its weekend total.

We cannot compare The Avengers directly to Avatar and Titanic, both of which were December holiday titles. Even The Dark Knight is a shaky comparison in that The Avengers faces a disadvantage in the short term that will become an advantage in a month. With kids still in school, The Avengers has deflated weekday numbers. Consider that The Dark Knight, a movie it has beaten by 33% on the weekends thus far (no, really), earned $45.36 million on its first Monday/Tuesday and $20.16 million its second Monday/Tuesday. That is a total of $65.52 million on comparable weekdays, 24% better than The Avengers’ $52.98 million. This is a phenomenal demonstration of how advantageous summer vacation days are for movie theaters. The Avengers is undeniably the more popular title, yet The Dark Knight’s weekdays are better. Keeping this in mind, here is what we can determine.

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