Weekend #18 of 2012 (the first weekend of May and the unofficial start of the summer movie season) looks like it will be about $214 million for the top 12 films, up 38% from last year’s comparable weekend and up 46% from the four-year average for this weekend. It’s all about Marvel’s The Avengers.
Opening at an estimated 4,200 theaters, Marvel’s The Avengers from Disney should average an awesome $39,200 per theater (for $165 million Friday-Sunday). [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,525 per theater.] Other recent releases in this league are The Hunger Games with a $36,871 per theater opening weekend, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 with $38,672, and The Dark Knight at $36,282. Reviews at RottenTomatoes are currently running at a nearly universal 94% positive. The Avengers is on track for a preliminary $475 million domestic.
If The Avengers opens with $165 million this weekend, it would be the second biggest of all time, just behind $169.2 million for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (at 4,375 theaters July 15-17, 2011). Next on the list are The Dark Knight at $158.4 million (at 4,366 theaters July 18-20, 2008), The Hunger Games at $152.5 million (at 4,137 theaters March 23-25, 2012) and Spider-Man 3 at $151.1 million (at 4,252 theaters May 4-6, 2007, averaging $35,540 per theater).
New Films Critics Opening Domestic
May 4-6 Positive Weekend Total*
The Avengers Dis PG13 94% $165 $475
Note: Although critic reviews are not related to the size of the opening weekend, they are significantly correlated with the size of the declines in the opening weeks of a movie.
* The Domestic Total is a very early ShowBuzzDaily projection of the total North American gross, based on the Weekend Forecasts.
The rest of the weekend chart will be filled with holdovers huddled around $5 million for the weekend, with second place Think Like a Man struggling to stay above $10 million.
Major Returning Films Change This Domestic
May 4-6 vs wknd 1 Weekend Total*
Think Like a Man Sony -49% $ 9.0 $104
Pirates! Band of Misfits Sony -42% $ 6.5 $ 41
The Hunger Games LG -42% $ 6.3 $399
Five-Year Engagement Uni -47% $ 5.7 $ 35
The Lucky One WB -50% $ 5.4 $ 62
Safe LG -56% $ 3.5 $ 25
The Raven Rel -60% $ 3.0 $ 18
Chimpanzee Dis -47% $ 2.8 $ 33
Three Stooges Fox -53% $ 2.5 $ 48
Box Office Volume
For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $147 million total, ranking 15th of 52 weeks. Last year this weekend’s total was $155 million, while the same weekend in 2010 was $171 million. This Friday-Sunday is looking like a stellar $214 million, up 38% from this weekend last year and up 46% from an “average” comparable weekend over the past four years.
This Weekend Last Two Years