May 7, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Now 18 full weeks into 2012 (entering the middle third of the year, the all-important May-August period), year-to-date domestic box office is now running 20% ahead of last year’s pace and now 15% ahead of the comparable period’s average for the last several years.   Marvel’s The Avengers ended up with an even stronger weekend than the studio forecast Sunday morning: an official domestic opening of over $207 million, now the best opening of all time by far (23% ahead of #2 all-time, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).  Sunday turned out to be an absolute whopper for The Avengers: $57.067 million, which was another new record (the biggest Sunday of all time) and an amazing 31% above the previous Sunday record holder ($43.596 million for The Dark Knight on July 20, 2008).


The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between April 30 and May 6 grossed $283 million, up 32% from the same week in 2011 and up 52% from the four-year average for the comparable week.  Year to date, 2012 is now running 20% ahead of 2011 (up from +19% through last week) and 15% ahead of the average for the same period the last four years (up from +13% through last week).

Domestic Box Office Volume: All Wide-Release Films through May 6, 2012 ($ millions)
2011 4-year Average 2012 vs 2011 vs 4yr Avg
Week #18 $206 $186 $283 +38% +52%
Year to Date $2,793 $2,912 $3,359 +20% +15%

Weekend Actuals versus Studio Estimates

Studio estimates were all over the map this weekend — some high and some low.  The only movie that really counted this weekend, Marvel’s The Avengers, was actually understated in the studio estimate issued Sunday.  The record-setting Avengers came in at $207.439 million in its opening weekend, 3.6% above the $200.3 million estimate Sunday morning.  Think Like a Man actually grossed $8.106 million, 1.3% above the $8.0 million studio estimate.  In contrast, The Hunger Games and The Lucky One showed the more normal pattern of coming in slightly below the studio estimate.  The Hunger Games grossed $5.588 million in its seventh weekend, 2.0% below the $5.7 million studio estimate.  The Lucky One ended up grossing $5.368 million in weekend three, 2.6% below the $5.51 million studio estimate.                    


Updated Estimates of Final Grosses

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Grosses (the estimated North American gross when the film ends its run) are summarized below for films released the last six weeks.  Pay attention to the final domestic grosses, which are much more important than individual weekend grosses and especially weekend rankings.

Updated ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Finals Domestic Final Gross ($ millions) percentile
Marvel’s The Avengers 507 99
Think Like a Man 95 77
Wrath of the Titans 82 72
Mirror Mirror 62 62
Titanic (3D) 61 62
The Lucky One 58 59
American Reunion 57 59
The Cabin in the Woods 44 52
The Three Stooges 44 52
Pirates! Band of Misfits 34 42
Five-Year Engagement 32 36
Chimpanzee 30 34
Safe 18 18
The Raven 14 12
Lockout 13 10


Weekend Predictions for May 11-13 (featuring the opening of Dark Shadows) should be posted late Wednesday.



About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.