Friday, May 4, 2012

Midnight box office math: The Avengers earns $18.7m at 12:01am. Weekend gross between $93m and $283m!

The unofficial midnight gross for Marvel's The Avengers is $18.7 million.  That's the eighth-biggest such midnight haul on record.  The seven ahead of it are The Hunger Games ($19.7 million), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($22 million), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I ($24 million), The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($26 million), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($30 million), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part I ($30 million), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($43 million).  Obviously The Avengers was never going to top the midnight-grossers list, and its worth noting that the film earned more on its midnight debut that pretty much every prior Marvel Studios movie combined (Offhand, Thor earned $3.5 million, Captain America earned $4 million, and Iron Man 2 earned $7.5 million in their respective midnight debuts).  It's a larger midnight, just barely and likely due to inflation and the 3D-price bump, then The Dark Knight, which broke a midnight record four years ago with $18.5 million on its way to a $67 million opening day and a $158 million opening weekend (both records at the time).  Unless the film is front-loaded on the level of a Harry Potter sequel or a Twilight sequel, we're looking at a $140-160 million debut here.  But is the three-day record still in play?  Let's whip out the calculator!

First of all, if the film plays exactly like The Hunger Games (which did 12.9% of its $152 million weekend at 12:01am), then The Avengers will pull in $144 million over the weekend.  If it plays like The Dark Knight, which earned 11.6% of its then-record haul at midnight, it gets $161 million, good for the second-biggest debut of all-time. If The Avengers does 11% of its weekend gross at midnight, that's enough to get it to $170 million, so it's still quite possible (normally big movies do between 4% and 6.5% of their money at midnight).  But let's also look at Spider-Man 3, which opened on this weekend five years ago for a record $151 million weekend haul.  That film, in a time just before midnight screenings became a mainstream thing, earned $10 million at midnight, or 6.6% of its total gross.  Marvel/Disney is hoping that the mainstream attention afforded to The Avengers is enough to elicit the merely curious over the weekend, the 'let's catch a movie tonight!' crowd that doesn't necessarily camp out for midnight screenings and/or pre-purchase their tickets online, which the Spider-Man films have always succeeded in attracting.  If The Avengers plays like Spider-Man 3, we're looking at a $283 million opening weekend, which is obviously not going to happen (and shows how much midnight screenings have grown in popularity over the last five years).  That's the insane pie-in-the-sky best case scenario, but let's look at the worst-case scenario too.  If the film does indeed perform like a front-loaded Harry Potter/Twilight sequel, that means that it already did around 20% of its weekend haul as of 12:01am.  Such a figure would give The Avengers a 'mere' $93 million over the weekend.

So there you have it: The Avengers is looking at an opening weekend of between $93 million and $283 million.  If you want my opinion, it feels closer to The Dark Knight than The Hunger Games, and I wouldn't count out finding a few extra million bucks over the weekend to put it over the $169 million weekend debut from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II if its close.  But all of this is of course speculation and we'll know more in about 12 hours.  And for the record, if the film ends up short of the record or even short of $150 million, the first pundit to scream 'disappointment' at $144 million gets punched in the face.  Anyway, if you've seen the film, hop on over to the spoiler-thread and share your thoughts.  And for prior 'midnight movie math' posts (to see how accurate I was), go HERE.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Jeff Mclachlan said...

Avengers is in fewer theaters than Hunger Games and Twilight, so even if it sold out every midnight show, it would probably be technically impossible to beat their midnight grosses. The real thing this movie has working in it's favor box-office-wise is kid-appeal. Weekend matinees are going to be huge for this thing.


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