THE AVENGERS Box Office Potential is Staggering

The Avengers Box Office Possibilities are Staggering

So now we all know Marvel’s The Avengers has posted the biggest opening weekend in North American box office history (by nearly $40 million dollars), including all-time record Saturday and Sunday grosses.

It did leave a couple of opening weekend records on the table. The previous record-holder - still holds the all-time record for single biggest day at $91m (its opening Friday) - a total that includes an all-time record $43.5 million in midnight showings, gargantuan compared to The Avengers relatively modest $18.7m midnight grosses.

But it’s in fact these records that The Avengers left the table that suggest some staggering possibilities for its future earnings, including a possible domestic gross of over $600m … or better…

2011’s last installment’s midnight and Friday records were of course aided by the fact is was a July opening, when kids and teens did not have school to attend the next day. But wound up grossing ‘only’ $169.2m for its first weekend a whole, or in other words, it showed unusually heavy front-end demand, even by genre standards.

That The Avengers is already showing early signs of box office “legs”, particularly during its record-setting Sunday, is what should be sending Disney bean counters into a frenzy right about now.

Comic book movies and summer tent pole films (The Avengers is both) almost always show very high upfront demand, but within that framework there are still differences and this is where the ranges of possibilities become impressive.

The Avengers has a couple of factors working in its favor for having a better-than-average box office shelf life. For one, critical and fan buzz is through the roof - with its current critics approval rate standing at 93%, along with receiving a rare A+ CinemaScore, an exit poll of actual moviegoers. This suggests positive word of mouth (not to mention social media buzz) that could help carry the film over standard genre demographic lines as well as robust repeat business.

Secondly, news of its record-setting weekend and impressive foreign receipts will feed into greater public awareness of the film heading into this coming weekend.

What kind of numbers could The Avengers eventually produce?

Using’s “Showdown” feature could provide some guidelines. <a href=>Of the five films in the Marvel Avengers series</a>, the highest opening weekend % of box office total (meaning how much of its total gross did it make in its opening weekend) was the relatively poorly-received ’s 41.1%. Plug that percentage into The Avengers opening figures and that would put it on pace to make a minimum $504m in North America alone at the end of its run.

But 41.1% is a relatively weak number. Last year’s Thor and Captain America - both fairly well-received and also 3D like The Avengers - scored almost identical figures of about 36.5% of their total grosses in their opening weekends. If The Avengers performed similarly, it would eventually accumulate $568m domestically, which would surpass ” $533m from 2008.

But could Marvel and Disney’s latest perform similarly to 2008’s , both movies with the type of critical and fan buzz The Avengers is basking in? Plug those percentages in and the numbers become gigantic.

did 29.7% of its total business its opening weekend and 31%. Roughly split the difference, plug 30.5% into The Avengers totals and you get a monumental $680m.

And we haven’t even talked international figures yet, where The Avengers’s estimated $447.4m foreign gross is only a little over $20m shy of ’s $468.6m, a figure it will zoom by this week.

Where do the final tallies stop? $1 billion worldwide is practically inevitable. A crash into the all-time worldwide Top 4 is possibly within reach, with #5’s ’s and #4’s nearly identical $1.12 billion totals likely to be moved a notch down the list.

The first sign of legs to watch will be this weekend, where The Avengers will attempt to be the only film in history to notch $100m in its weekend of domestic release.

But it’ll need to perform slightly better than the 52.5% dropped in its second weekend. Anything closer to the 48.1% drop by or ’s 47.2% dropand The Avengers will make unexpected box office history … again.

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