Even the least savvy box-office prognosticator on planet Earth could have predicted that “The Avengers” — Joss Whedon’s testament to the power of superheroic teamwork — was going to win this weekend’s box-office race. And it did. But the degree to which it triumphed is more staggering than some may have anticipated.
Since opening Thursday at midnight, “The Avengers” has earned a jaw-dropping $200.3 million in North America, according to studio estimates, making it the biggest movie debut of all time without adjusting for inflation. That breaks the record held previously and briefly, it turns out, by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” which opened last year with an intake north of $168 million.
Hulk smash? Uh, yeah. This qualifies as a Hulk smash, to say the least.
Here are a few other numerical facts about “The Avengers” and its mind-bogglingly successful box-office performance.
— According to this handy chart on Box Office Mojo’s Web site, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, et al sold 25.6 million tickets over the weekend. Clearly the more expensive 3-D and Imax screenings may have contributed to its overall revenue; according to the L.A. Times, 52% of moviegoers opted to see “The Avengers” in 3-D. But that’s still an awful lot of tickets sold in three days.
— Thanks to a strong performance overseas before rolling out in U.S. and Canadian multiplexes, “The Avengers” has already amassed an overall gross of $641.8 million.
— Fun fact: If you combine the opening weekend revenues for last summer’s two “Avengers”-related films, “Thor” ($65.7 million) and “Captain America” (also $65 million), you get only $130.7 million. This is further evidence that when multiple Marvel superheroes combine forces, they can not only achieve swift justice but also a much stronger immediate cash flow.
— In case you were wondering, half of the people who went to see “The Avengers” were younger than 25 and 60 percent of them were male, again, according to the Los Angeles Times. So it scored a direct hit on that summer-season season sweet spot: the young fanboy demographic.
— One of the most gratifying takeaways from all this is that it could mean very good things for Joss Whedon. Needless to say, this is the most lucrative film project the “Buffy” creator has ever been involved in, which should amplify his clout and his ability to get projects greenlighted in the future.
Oh, by the way, some other movies made money at the box office this weekend, though not nearly as much. I mean, not even close. But here’s a list of the top five anyway.
1. “The Avengers” — $200.3 million
2. “Think Like a Man” — $8 million
3. “The Hunger Games” — $5.7 million
4. “The Lucky One” — $5.5 million
5. “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” — $5.4 million