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Weekend Box Office Report: ‘The Avengers’ Destroy ‘Dark Shadows’

Box Office Report: Dark Shadows
Warner Bros.

Poor Barnabas Collins never stood a chance. Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows‘ found itself clobbered to death over the weekend courtesy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, who rode a perfect cocktail of hype and stellar word-of-mouth to an unprecedented second weekend. It’s no longer a question of whether or not ‘The Avengers‘ will be one of the biggest movies of all time, mainly because it already is one of the biggest movies of all time: after only nineteen days, it’s crossed the $1 billion mark. The question we should be pondering now is whether or not it will become the biggest movie of all time.

An opening weekend of over $100 million is a remarkable, which is why ‘The Avengers’ opening to over $200 million last week was such a huge deal. Of course, that means that a second weekend north of $100 million is, well…it’s just never happened before. Blockbusters tend to take a 50% tumble in their second week and ‘The Avengers’ followed suit, but even with such a drop, the film’s second weekend is the envy of most films being released this summer. After only two weeks, ‘The Avengers’ is just about ready to overtake ‘The Hunger Games’ and become the highest grossing film of the year and it shows no signs of slowing down quite yet.

By next week, there will no longer be eleven movies in the $400 Million Club. There will be twelve. In a few weeks, there may be thirteen if ‘The Hunger Games‘ keeps its legs.

1. The Avengers: $103,163,000 ($373,182,000)

2. Dark Shadows: $28,805,000 ($28,805,000)

3. Think Like a Man: $6,300,000 ($81,917,000)

4. The Hunger Games: $4,400,000 ($386,902,000)

5. The Lucky One: $4,055,00 ($53,721,000)

6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits: $3,200,000 ($23,104,000)

7. The Five-Year Engagement $3,100,000 ($24,377,000)

8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: $2,650,000 ($3,723,000)

9. Chimpanzee: $1,624,000 ($25,586,000)

10. Girl in Progress: $1,350,000 ($1,350,000)

‘The Avengers’ is all but assured a place in the top ten highest grossing films of all time, on both the domestic and international lists. It’s currently number seventeen on the domestic list (right under ‘Spider-Man 2′) and only needs another $30 million to take the tenth spot from ‘Spider-Man.’ On the international list, it’s number eleven and it will spend the next month smashing its way through the competition with no mercy. It’ll push its way past ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,’ and a few ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films before it comes face to face with its real foe: the twin James Cameron juggernauts of ‘Titanic‘ and ‘Avatar,’ the only two films to have crossed the $2 billion mark (and by a significant margin).

But no film has opened as big as ‘The Avengers.’ No film has reached $200 million faster. No film has reached $300 million faster. In a few days, no film will have reached $400 million faster. It made a billion internationally in nineteen days. Most importantly, audiences love ‘The Avengers’ in a way that they never truly ‘Avatar,’ which has all but vanished from pop culture despite its massive (3D and IMAX inflated) box office gross. If you had told us ten years ago that a Joss Whedon film starring c-list superheroes would threaten the box office triumph of James Cameron, we would have laughed you out of the room.

Unfortunately, the success of ‘The Avengers’ has to come at a cost. Bearing the brunt of Marvel’s billion dollar movie is Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s ‘Dark Shadows,’ which opened to a measly $28 million. That’s disappointing for a team whose collaborations normally make bank at the box office. Look at 2010′s ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ which opened to $116 million or 2005′s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ which opened to $56 million. It may be easy to compare ‘Dark Shadows’s opening to the $13 million debut of ‘Sweeney Todd’ in 2007, but that was a limited release, designed for an Oscar push. You have to go all the way back to 1996 (to ‘Mars Attacks!’ in particular) to find a Tim Burton blockbuster that fell on its face so spectacularly. Perhaps the moral of the story is that expensive films based on 1970s soap operas that weren’t marketed until the literal last second aren’t safe bets at the box office.

Mr. Burton and Mr. Depp: perhaps it’s time to take a break, okay?

Another side effect of ‘The Avengers’ hogging the box office spotlight is that everything else in the top ten is an absolute bore. ‘Think Like a Man‘ and ‘The Hunger Games’ continue to showcase muscular legs, with the former well on track to cross the $100 million mark and the latter within a breath and a prayer of $400 million. Even though ‘The Avengers’ is the box office event of 2012 (although ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ will certainly put up a fight come July), it would be unfair to ignore the success of these films. Pats on the back all around!

The usual suspects are still hanging around the top ten. ‘The Five-Year Engagement,’ ‘The Lucky One,’ ‘Chimpanzee‘ and ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits‘ aren’t exactly lighting the box office on fire, but with such little competition for ‘The Avengers,’ they get to hang out in the top ten for awhile longer. The paltry box office did allow two unexpected films to slip into the top ten, though: ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and ‘Girl in Progress’ really have no place here (and their grosses reflect that), but with ‘The Avengers’ hogging all of the money, they’ve managed float to the top.

Next week will find ‘The Dictator’ and ‘Battleship‘ entering the box office fray. ‘The Dictator’ will probably find an audience (mainly people tired of explosions, superheroes and Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaborations), but ‘Battleship’ is something of a wild card. It’s the first blockbuster going up against ‘The Avengers’ that’s playing on a similar level, but it’s also been widely mocked for being based on a board game. Their showdown should prove fascinating.

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