Box Office: ‘The Avengers’ Makes a Billion Dollars; ‘Dark Shadows’ Makes Far Less

Today’s big story: Sure, The Avengers has made truck loads of money at the box office, but will The Dark Knight Rises make more? At least that’s what I’ve gathered from checking in on Twitter while disposing of Woodchuck Cider bottles in between episodes of my usual Sunday Afternoon Top Gear Marathon. Upon further inspection, we’ll come to note that Joss Whedon’s high-flying superhero team-up movie netted a staggering $103.4 million in its second week of release, dwarfing the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration Dark Shadows, which nostalgia-crawled its way to a $28 million dollar opening. As it turns out, the folks at Warner Bros. were hoping for something a little bit more.

Somewhere in the $35 million range, to be exact. And while Dark Shadows isn’t exactly a failure, it sure isn’t the story of the weekend. The Avengers not only cashed in, it brought home records for Disney and Marvel, beating the $75.6 second weekend record set in 2009 by Avatar and becoming the fastest film to get to $300 million domestically, hitting the mark in 9 days. Globally, it will have earned $1.002 billion dollars in its first 19 days of release, making its young box office run the 11th biggest opening in the history of the world.

What does this mean for every other superhero movie of the summer? Absolutely nothing. It does, however, mean inevitable doom for The Hunger Games, which will soon relinquish its crown of the highest domestic gross of a still young 2012. Katniss and co. sit only $13 million above The Avengers, but they took in a meager $4.4 million this past weekend. I was never good at physics in school, but there’s an analogy to be had here about velocity and distance and an eventual box office takeover.

Here’s the weekend chart based on Sunday night estimates:

  1. Marvel’s The Avengers – $103.1m
  2. Dark Shadows – $28.8m
  3. Think Like a Man – $6.3m
  4. The Hunger Games – $4.4m
  5. The Lucky One – $4.0m
  6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits – $3.2m
  7. The Five-Year Engagement – $3.1m
  8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – $2.6m
  9. Chimpanzee – $1.6m
  10. Girl in Progress – $1.3m

For fun, here’s the domestic chart of 2012 overall through this past weekend:

  1. The Hunger Games – $386.9m
  2. The Avengers – $373.1m
  3. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – $209.5m

And the worldwide chart for 2012 through this weekend:

  1. The Avengers – $1002.1m
  2. The Hunger Games – $623.9m
  3. Titanic 3D – $340.2m
  4. The Intouchables – $336.3m
  5. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – $323.3m

Stepping up to contend next week will be Universal’s alien invasion film Transformers Battleship, with all the star power of Taylor Kitsch and pop star Rhianna behind it. That’s one untested pop star and the guy who headlined the year’s first big flop, John Carter. Also opening is What to Expect When You’re Expecting, a movie based on a self help book that has sold over 20 million copies. Without the help of a 3D bump (get it?), What to Expect could theoretically earn $160 million dollars if every single person who has ever bought the book goes to see the movie in its first three days of release. That still wouldn’t beat the $207 million The Avengers earned in its opening weekend.

Sorry, literate pregnant people. It just isn’t meant to be.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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