We are now into the month of June and I thought I would take some time right now to give you an update on how the “Summer Blockbuster Season” is doing at the domestic box office.
Okay, so it’s really not officially “summer” yet, but that’s what they call it and calling it “Summer Blockbuster Season” sounds better than calling it “Late Spring Blockbuster Movie Season”. Besides, the season extends until August so you might as well call it summer season anyway.
So far, the story this late Spring has been the total domination of one movie: Marvel’s The Avengers.
It has really cleaned up at the box office in North America and around the world. The story is also the feast-or-famine nature of the box office in general – it’s been a feast for The Avengers and famine for pretty much all the other movies in the early going.
The Avengers, as expected, opened strong out of the gate the first weekend of May. What caught everyone by surprise was how strong it actually was and out of the gate with the number of records that actually fell.
Here is a rundown of many of the records that were toppled by The Avengers at the domestic box office:
Biggest Domestic Opening Weekend in History: $207 million, toppling 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 with $169 million.
Biggest Opening Week: $270 million, toppling The Dark Knight’s $238.6 million.
Biggest Theatre Average for a Wide Release: $47,698.
Biggest Opening Weekend 3D Gross: $108 Million, toppling $81.3 million for Alice in Wonderland.
Biggest Second Weekend: $103 Million, toppling the $75.6 million for Avatar in 2009.
Highest Monthly Share for Any Film: 52 percent in May, toppling the 37.4 percent of Spider-Man in May 2002.
Fastest movie to reach $200 mil, $250 mil, $300 mil, $350 mil, $400 mil, and $450 mil (toppling The Dark Knight), and $500 mil and $550 mil (toppling Avatar).
The film tied the record for fastest to reach $1 billion worldwide and now ranks third overall in worldwide and domestic gross with a global total of $1.36 billion as of this week. Only two movies: Avatar at $2.7 billion and Titanic at $2.1 billion, rank ahead all-time. As of June 7th its total domestic gross was $561 million.
So that is the big story from the month of May – the whole whack of records that fell by the wayside. The other big story was how poorly the competition fared. There were quite a few flops in May 2012.
No match for The Avengers was Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton. The big-screen version of the scary TV soap opera was a bust for Warner Bros. with an opening domestic weekend haul of just under $30 million. The next weekend came Battleship, which truly sank to the bottom of the ocean with a weekend haul of $25.5 million and an abysmal $57 million overall as of June 7. Studio executives get fired for numbers like that. Some fingers have got to be pointing at Universal.
It was Men in Black 3 that finally snapped the three-weekend winning streak for The Avengers, but their weekend haul was only $54.5 million domestically. That was considered a bit of a disappointment, especially since Will Smith is known for being a major blockbuster movie draw.
Then last weekend saw the release of Snow White and the Huntsman, which did a little better than expected with a weekend domestic haul of $56.2 million.
So now we are into the month of June and it is very clear The Avengers is setting the pace for the rest of the summer and for the rest of the year, frankly. It will be very hard to top numbers like what we have seen from The Avengers, numbers that truly are among the best we‘ve ever seen at the box office.
Why did it do so well? Part of it has to do with the timing of the movie for release on the first weekend of May – right after the usual dry dead zone at theatres that is the Winter Movie Season. There was a big pent-up demand to see these characters again on the big screen – heroes like Thor and Captain America and Iron Man, and of course the Incredible Hulk.
Of course, inflated ticket prices in general, plus the inflated costs of 3D, helped The Avengers set a lot of their records. But people were willing to pay these inflated prices, so they set their records fair and square as far as I’m concerned – there’s no need to put an asterisk beside it.
I wonder whether there will be a similar demand for any other movie this summer. I had thought that perhaps The Dark Knight Rises would be a contender for summer blockbuster of the year when it is released in July 20.
I still expect it and maybe The Amazing Spider-Man to do very well, but as far as setting records is concerned they have a tough act to follow after what The Avengers has done. Also, don’t be surprised if the feast-or-famine situation continues this summer with movies like The Dark Knight Rises doing well at the box office while a host of others do not.