The $200 Million Question: Will ‘Avengers’ Demolish Box Office Record?

May 4, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Estimates vary widely on how much “The Avengers,” which opens today, will rake in at the box office, but everyone is in agreement on one thing: The movie will be huge.

Almost everyone thinks it will top $150 million for its opening weekend in North America, with some predicting it will beat the current record holder, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part II," which opened with a $169.2 million weekend in July 2011.

Then there are those who are talking about $200 million.

SNL Kagan reports: “Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co., is even more bullish, telling TheWrap.com that he believes it is possible ‘Avengers’ could hit the $200 million mark during its opening weekend. ‘It would take a perfect storm,’ Bock said, ‘but all the elements are there.’ Notably, ‘Avengers’ is the only new movie opening widely in theaters on May 4 and it is not likely to face much competition from holdovers such as ‘Think Like a Man’ or ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits,’ which took the No. 1 and 2 seats at the box office, respectively, during the weekend of April 27.”

BoxOffice.com forecasts a $170 million opening, and adds: "Anticipation for ‘The Avengers’ has been building since ‘Iron Man’ opened … in May 2008," Kagan reports.

Box office expectations for the film are high — especially after a strong international opening. But it has a good chance of living up to them, Kagan reports.

“First, the film has a firmly established film base that has been growing since 2008, when both ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and ‘Iron Man’ came out,” Kagan reports. “‘This is the culmination of years of planning on the part of Marvel,’ Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president of exhibition, told TheWrap.com.

“Second, the movie is hitting all four quadrants. It is appealing not only to men and boys, but also to girls and women. ‘You can’t do $155 million with just guys,’ Keith Simanton, managing editor of movie website IMDb.com, told Reuters. ‘It’s got to be a date night. It’s got to be an event.’"

Critics have generally been upbeat about the movie. Kagan reports: “As of 9:30 a.m. ET on May 4, the movie had earned a 93% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com. ‘With a script that never forgets its heroes’ humanity and no shortage of superpowered set pieces, “The Avengers” lives up to its hype — and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies,’ the site wrote.”

Disney, still reeling from the recent failure of “John Carter” at the box office, can use a hit, and it is leaving no stone unturned as it seeks to ensure the success of “Avengers.” Among the marketing efforts, it has made a point of courting female moviegoers.

“The studio made sure the stars of the film were featured in multiple women’s magazines, with [Scarlett] Johansson appearing on the cover of Vogue and other cast members posing in InStyle, Elle and People,” Kagan reports. “As for TV appearances, [Chris] Evans and [Chris] Hemsworth are set to appear on ‘The View,’ and Disney’s ABC Family Channel has shown advance clips from the film.”

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