Shop Talk: The Avengers End of the Road
By David Mumpower
June 6, 2012
This is a subject we broach from time to time. Long time readers know the specifics, but the gist is that bigger numbers are harder to maintain than smaller ones. A 50% decline for a $100 million opener is much better than a 50% decline for a $10 million opener. The reason is simple. A 50% decline for a $10 million opener is only a $5 million weekend to weekend drop while the same performance for a $100 million opener would require a $50 million second outing. One requires a factor of ten more revenue than the other to match the same weekend depreciation total.
There is a corollary to this. The less a movie is earning week to week, the closer it is to exiting theaters. Consider that Chernobyl Diaries, a movie I and I alone think is a good concept, is already out of the top 10 after only 12 days in theaters. It earned $460,000 yesterday, which is pathetic. Its current domestic total of $15.4 million represents about all the box office it is going to earn.
Extending this concept to the movies already in the discussion, Star Trek was earning less than a million a day by its 32nd day in theaters. Iron Man was at $1.2 million while Spider-Man was at $1.5 million. Given that The Avengers is still earning 33% more than Spider-Man, it stands to reason that the Marvel mash-up should earn 33% more than Spider-Man from this point forward. That’s a sloppier model that we at BOP ordinarily use, but I wanted to keep this evaluation simpler than the ones from previous weeks.
33% more than $48.4 million is $64.4 million. Combining that estimate with the current domestic take of The Avengers, $555.0 million, we can extrapolate final box office of $619.4 million. When I first did an evaluation of The Avengers four weeks ago, $625 million was my expected valuation for its domestic take. This appears to be a solid target goal for the movie, give or take a few million.
What does this mean? Reagen Sulewski has done a few box office interviews recently. He has surprised a few journalists by indicating that The Avengers could surpass Titanic. He is right in this regard although the point does require a bit of clarification. There are two tallies for Titanic, its initial release and its final take. $600.8 million was what the James Cameron masterpiece earned during its first year in North American theaters. That tally has since been boosted by its seemingly innocuous 2012 3D re-release.
Had Cameron chosen not to distribute Titanic again, The Avengers would be the second best performer of all time. It WILL surpass Titanic’s original performance; it will fall short of Titanic’s current tally of $658.7 million. So, Titanic is now the Barry Bonds of blockbusters. It needs an asterisk by its name when we place it above The Avengers. Then again, ticket prices were much cheaper in 1997/1998, so this could be construed as justice, depending on your point of view.
Either way, The Avengers’ $1.36 billion worldwide is plenty good enough for third place all time, but the movie has a lot of work to do if it wants to catch Titanic’s global take of $2.18 million. Just to be clear about the size of that gap, it is $820 million. In other words, the distance between The Avengers and Titanic right now is a full Spider-Man ($821.6 million worldwide total).