SUNDAY AM, 9TH UPDATE: North American grosses came in exactly as expected. Marvel’s The Avengers from Disney broke $100M in its second weekend for the first time in movie history (beating Avatar‘s 75M). Saturday’s number is about $43.1M after Friday’s was $29.1M for an estimated weekend total of $103.2M with Sunday’s expected $30.9M. That’s down only 50% from its massive opening a week ago. The projected domestic cume now is $373.2M for its first 10 days of release. The international figure is $628.9M after adding $95.4M from overseas this weekend playing in almost every movie territory. Disney says Avengers will cross $1.002B worldwide Sunday. Yowza! That makes Avengers #11 on the all-time money making list, past The Dark Knight (not adjusted for premium ticket prices or inflation). And it should shoot up to #5 very quickly. It will be the first Marvel film and fifth Disney release to reach $1B.
Meanwhile there was no dramatic turnaround for Warner Bros’ Dark Shadows even though the comedic gothic thriller went up a decent 12% from Friday’s $9.7M to Saturday’s $10.9M in North America. That yielded only a disappointing $28.8M total for the weekend. “We played to an older audience. But I am hopeful we can can broaden our base over the next 2 weeks as the new films to come are not really in our wheelhouse,” a WB exec emailed me Sunday, adding. “Stay tuned… Our pulse is still strong.” On Sunday the studio came out with its day-and-date international numbers: $36.7M, including previews with 4.6M admissions from 5,664 screens in 42 territories. Becase of Avengers in the marketplace, Dark Shadow’s was #2 in many territories like Russia ($5.3M from 977 screens), Australia ($3.7M from 369 screens), Korea ($2.5M from 375 screens), Taiwan ($994K from 106 screens), and Hong Kong ($915K from 60 screens). It was #1 in France where Johnny Depp and his family reside ($4.6M from 474 screens), Spain ($2.4M from 341 screens), and Italy ($2.3M from 537 screens). The UK grossed $4.0M from 515 situations, while Germany took in $2.0M from 441 screens. Upcoming Releases: Japan (May 19), Brazil and Mexico (June 22).
Top Ten below.
SATURDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: How do you know your new movie is in trouble? When exhibitors want your pic to share supersized screens with your holdover rival that’s a mega-hit. Oops. Turns out Warner Bros felt it had no choice but to buckle under the theaters’ demands to extend Disney’s big screen run. So Warner Bros’ Dark Shadows is losing a morning show and an evening show to Marvel’s The Avengers every day from Friday until May 25. Warner Bros insisted to me this will be revenue neutral because some large-screen venues were added for the staggered showtimes. But the two pics also are competing overseas. Disney thinks $1B is possible worldwide through Sunday for Avengers which is playing almost everywhere. Meanwhile Dark Shadows is eking out its big international debut this weekend in 42 major markets except Japan, Brazil, and Mexico. The comedic gothic thriller earned $770,000 in France where Depp and his family reside. But the studio’s new vampire sendup of the vintage TV daytime soap is a disappointment at the North American box office. Its audiences gave it only a ‘B-‘ CinemaScore, and 61% of top film critics panned it.
This 8th re-teaming of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton suffered weeks of soft tracking ahead of time, mostly because Avengers sucked all the air out of this month’s films trying to get pre-release attention. (Interestingly, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Paramount laugher The Dictator and Universal’s Battleship also are tracking softer than expected before their openings this month. And not for lack of awareness…) Dark Shadows opened by making a so-so $550K during midnight screenings from 1,600 locations overnight. But it didn’t draw blood from 3,755 theaters later, either. instead it was creeping out of the gate with only about $9.7M Friday for at best a $28M weekend – unless Saturday picks up. Even though adaptations from TV to film generally perform modestly, Dark Shadows was predicted to earn a minimum of $35M — which is feeble considering the pic’s budget was a costly $150M-$175M. But it should have opened to at least a $40M-$50M weekend with the popular Depp-Burton push that last sent Alice In Wonderland grosses soaring past $1B worldwide for Disney. Warner Bros attempted to counterprogram Avengers with Depp’s Barnabas Collins — who awakens in 1972 after being imprisoned in a coffin for 200 years, complete with fish-out-of-water jokes and an over-the-top sex scene — hoping to snag women of all ages. But the strategy backfired when Avengers turned into a four-quadrant monster.
Yes, the biggest North American movie is getting still bigger and still setting records. Playing very wide with 4,349 theaters, The Avengers looks like around $29.1M for Friday and approaches a gargantuan $100M second weekend. This will be far-and-away the highest second domestic weekend in box office history (passing Avatar‘s and The Dark Knight‘s $75M records). That means the holdover will drop only 53% after its record-setting opening. Coming into Friday Avengers was scooping up 75% of all tickets sales at online MovieTickets.com. Disney says its superhero worldwide juggernaut will cross $300M domestic on Saturday in a record of only 9 days. (The previous record was 10 days.) Through Sunday its domestic haul should be around $355M. So what’s the total overseas so far? Its international gross is $533.3M for a global cumulative of $888.3M.
Burton was a devoted fan of the original ABC gothic soap Dark Shadows when he was a schoolboy, while Depp long obsessed about reimagining the vampire role made famous by Jonathan Frid (who filmed a cameo before he died). Depp and his Infinitum Nihil producing partner Christi Dembrowski had a first-look deal with Graham King’s GK Films. So the two companies produced Dark Shadows along with Dick Zanuck who now has six collaborations with Burton under his belt.
But it was co-star Helena Bonham Carter who sounded the alarm when she predicted that Dark Shadows was “going to be impossible to sell. It’s very original and it’s kind of uncategorizable” So Warner Bros positioned the pic “as a fun, wildly original vampire story as only Tim Burton and Johnny Depp can,” an exec tells me. “In addition to the humor and pedigree, we focused on the stellar cast, the gothic fantasy element, and the bold originality born from this incredible creative collaboration.” The studio had been trying for several years to pull together this movie adaptation. It purchased the film rights to the TV series from the estate of Dan Curtis (the creator, producer and director of Dark Shadows). John August was the first writer hired to script Tim Burton’s project. And Seth Grahame-Smith, who made his Hollywood entry writing novels that put a macabre twist to literary classics and historical figures, wrote the new draft.
Given the film’s tight production schedule because Depp is so much in demand, the concentrated marketing campaign kicked off with a very aggressive trailer schedule throughout March on movies from 21 Jump Street to The Hunger Games. TV ads kicked off with an early burst on NCAA Finals and notable placements like the Mad Men premiere as well as select network finales and NBA playoffs. Online Burton and Depp collaborated on an original featurette, while the studio came up with a Barnabas-style curse generator. Johnny Depp went on Ellen for the first time, while the event premiere had a live performance from Alice Cooper. “The quirky charm of the picture was present in all aspects of our campaign,” an exec told me. Now the studio is hoping that Dark Shadows can save itself through some staying power.
Other news is that Fox Searchlight’s specialty film Best Exotic Marigold Hotel jumped into the #8 spot despite playing in only 178 venues. The upscale drama had a per screen average of $15K. And Lionsgate’s coming-of-age dramedy Girl In Progress opened in 10th place with just 322 theaters. Overall, the weekend is looking like $170M or up +21% from last year.
Here’s the Top Ten (based on weekend estimates):
1. Marvel’s The Avengers (Disney) Week 2 [4,349 Theaters] PG13
Friday $29.1M, Saturday $43.1M, Weekend $103.2M (-50%), Cume $373.2M
International Weekend $95.4M, Int’l Cume $628.9M, Global Cume $1.2B
2. Dark Shadows (Warner Bros) NEW [3,755 Theaters] PG13
Friday $10.5M, Saturday $10.9M, Weekend $28.8M 3. Think Like A Man (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 4 [2,052 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $2.4M, Weekend $6.5M, Cume $82.1M
4. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 8 [2,531 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.3M, Cume $387.0M
5. The Lucky One (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,839 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.5M, Weekend $4.0M, Cume $53.7M
6. Five-Year Engagement (Universal) Week 3 [2,569 Theaters] R
Friday $955K, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $3.2M, Cume $24.5M
7. Pirates! Band of Misfits (Aardman/Sony) Week 3 [3,079 Theaters] PG
Friday $740K, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $3.1M, Cume $23.0M
8. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 (178 Theaters] PG13
Friday $665K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.7M, Cume $4.0M
9. Chimpanzee (Disneynature) Week 4 [1,559 Theaters]
Friday $387M, Saturday $600K, Weekend $1.7, Cume $25.7M
10. Girl In Progress (Lionsgate) NEW [322 Theaters] G
Friday $408K, Saturday $573M, Weekend $1.4M