Can THE AVENGERS Beat HARRY POTTER’s Box Office Record? [UPDATED: Yes]

     May 5, 2012


As you’re aware, Marvel’s The Avengers is an enormous success.  Disney’s massive marketing campaign looks to have paid off in spades, and the film is enjoying the rare enthusiastically positive reaction from both critics and audiences.  Joss Whedon’s all-star superhero pic currently stands at a very fresh 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a respectable 69 on the more nuanced Metacritic scale.  Moreover, the film scored a coveted “A+” rating from Cinemascore which measures audience reaction.  The film earned $80.5 million on opening day, making it second only to the $91 million take scored by last year’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

That franchise closer currently holds the number one spot on the All-Time weekend chart, but does The Avengers have a shot at dethroning The Boy Who Lived?  Hit the jump for more. [Update: The official estimates are in, and it appears that The Avengers bested Harry Potter by a not-so-narrow margin. More after the jump]

avengers-movie-image-chris-evans-robert-downey-jrBefore we get into the All-Time weekend race, let’s briefly discuss the international box office for The Avengers.  The film opened early in many overseas markets, and it’s clear that the superhero movie has substantial worldwide appeal.  The pic debuted to a $178.4 million international opening weekend, and the current international gross stands at $334.3 million.  The worldwide total now looks to land around at least $575 million by Monday, and repeat business in the coming weeks should keep that number moving higher and higher.

It’s important to note that The Avengers is benefiting from 3D ticket prices, so the film has a great advantage heading into the record-breaking race.  2008’s The Dark Knight currently holds the #2 position on the opening weekend chart with $158 million, while this year’s other record-breaker The Hunger Games stands at #3 with $152 million, narrowly edging out Spider-Man 3’s $151.  That said, none of these titles had the ticket price uptick of 3D, and only one film stands in the way of The Avengers taking the crown.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 opened to $169 million last summer.  Not only did the film enjoy 3D ticket prices, but it had the benefit of being the closing chapter in the highest grossing film franchise of all time.  The Avengers also has a built-in audience, 3D, and stellar reviews, but it doesn’t come with the finality that Harry Potter had (that aspect should make The Dark Knight Rises a contender later this summer).

The Friday take of The Avengers is $10 million shy of Harry Potter, which some would assume means it’ll fall short of the All-Time opening weekend title.  However, everyone knew what they were getting with Harry Potter.  Though The Avengers has a huge built-in audience and a fair amount of general appeal, a lot of people didn’t expect it to be such a great movie. Whedon’s pic should enjoy enthusiastically positive word of mouth this weekend—not to mention repeat business—so we could see an uptick in Saturday and Sunday’s audience.

the-avengers-team-imageEstimates have the film earning anywhere between $165 and $175 million this weekend, so the jury’s still out on whether it’ll topple Harry Potter.  If I had to guess, I’d say the word of mouth will result in The Avengers narrowly edging out Harry Potter and taking the All-Time opening weekend title.  Until The Dark Knight Rises comes to challenge the throne in July, that is.

It’s important to remember that this is all conjecture at this point; no one knows exactly how well the film will do today and tomorrow.  What is known is that The Avengers is an incredibly well-liked movie that is playing like gangbusters across the globe.  Whether it breaks the All-Time weekend record or not, Disney and Marvel have a colossal success on their hands.  This can only mean good things for the superhero genre, and hopefully studios will understand that the movie is a blockbuster not just because it features people in funny costumes and explosions, but because Joss Whedon wrote and directed a quality film that delivers on entertainment, character, and humor.

[Update: Not only did The Avengers beat Harry Potter's box office record, it essentially crushed it.  Official estimates have the superhero team-up scoring an amazing $200.3 million, crushing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2's record by over $30 million.  This is way higher than anyone even guessed, and it appears the film benefited from an insane amount of word-of-mouth.  This record is something I don't expect to be broken anytime soon, as it's more akin to Sam Raimi's 2002 pic Spider-Man which grossed $114.2 million and became the first film to cross the $100 million mark in a single weekend.  Whatever eventually overtakes The Avengers' record, it'll have to be a film enjoying the price uptick of 3D and IMAX theaters.]

For more on The Avengers, here are Steve’s recent interviews with:


  • AlexHeyNa

    A 7-paragraph article on whether or not The Avengers will beat Harry Potter at the box office? You guys are really obsessed with The Avengers… You’ll find anything to write about it. If it beats it, it beats it. It’s not going to be a surprise. If anything is gonna beat it, it’s this. And if anything’s gonna beat this, it’s The Dark Knight Rises. But the thing about The Avengers is, it takes all of their most popular properties coming together for Marvel to even come close to Harry Potter or Batman at the box office. So really, it’s not that big of an accomplishment.

    • growndhawgg

      Batman Begins was cool! Then Ledger died so everyone went to see the new joker/”last performance,” (everyone saw it), and the movie was really good. This last movie can’t live up to the dark knight (now that everyone’s expecting it). Spider-man and the X-Men/Wolverine are Marvels most popular.

      • bob

        Uh, the Dark Knight was not Ledgers last performance.

        I think people went and watched the Dark Knight because it was a Batman movie, plus it had the joker. So, it would have done very well regardless if Ledger didn’t pass away.

    • Max

      If is breaks the record, than its a pretty big accomplishment no matter what. You don’t make any sense

      • AlexHeyNa

        I guess I should have said it won’t be a remarkably outstanding achievement.

  • growndhawgg

    Harry Potter films lasted over a decade!

    • Kevin Feige

      And the way the Avengers played out this weekend, so will the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • Tim

    Who cares…

    Is the amount of money this movie makes going to suddenly change your life? If not, then who cares…

    • geHuC

      I’m pretty sure the guys at Disney care a lot ;)

  • ally

    Harry Potter is the best of all time.

  • Strong Enough

    But the thing about The Avengers is, it takes all of their most popular properties coming together for Marvel to even come close to Harry Potter or Batman at the box office. So really, it’s not that big of an accomplishment.

    ^ Bingo. Iron man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America were all long trailers to set up Avengers

    All these superheroes and you narrowly edge out a Batman and struggling to defeat harry potter. I say it’s a mild success at best. But all these superheroes should have done more at the BO

    But i don’t know why everyone is obsessed over this. I am not getting any checks from Marvel so I could not give a sh*t

    Plus STOP comparing Avengers to the Dark Knight. Too TOTALLY different movies.

    • Cartersvillevol

      Some might say two totally different movies.

      One is a superhero movie. The other a bunch of overacting, emotionally fragile weaklings.

    • Cartersvillevol

      Some might even say two totally different movies.

      One is a superhero movie. The other a caper movie with pretentious, marble mouthed, morose whiners.

    • Ryder

      So according to your logic if someone doesn’t pay you a check you don’t give a s**t about it. AMAZING LOGIC! NOT!!!!

      • Strong Enough

        when it comes to Box office numbers?

        ehhh yea

        What the hell am i going to do with box office numbers? get a hamburger with it?

        oh avengers made 170 million and your still broke.


  • Mark

    I hope so, it’s embarrassing to have Harry Potter the top of anything.

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  • Geoffrey

    The Avengers is at 69 on metacritic, not 63.

    • Hazza

      Aaahh, I’m pretty sure it is says 69 dude. Proofread, then whinge

      • Geoffrey

        Did it maybe occur to you that they changed it to the correct score after posting the comment? It said 63, I know how to read. Now do me a favor and please whinge.

      • Gerberzy

        It did say 63, they changed it.

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  • ASFan

    You forgot to take into account midnight grosses.

    • John

      Midnight grosses are counted towards the first day gross. So the $80 million you see includes the midnight showings.

  • Tyler

    Its actually very important how well this movie does. If if is able to claim the top spot (which it has a strong possibility of doing) then the folks at Disney and Marvel will push harder to have Joss Whedon come back to deliver an equally strong and, IMO, spectacular super hero pic.

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  • Strong Enough

    But the thing about The Avengers is, it takes all of their most popular properties coming together for Marvel to even come close to Harry Potter or Batman at the box office. So really, it’s not that big of an accomplishment.

    ^ Bingo.

    • Ryder

      Ok stop uploading your ridiculous comment.

      1. It was the last Harry Potter film WITH 3D prices so yeah it’s going to make a lot of money

      2. Everyone went and saw The Dark Knight because up to that point looked like the only good Batman movie with a strong cast and strong director. Add in the Heath Ledger death a few months before and that sparks nationwide interest

      3. The accomplishment is that a company took years to carefully work in details throughout each movie to keep a strong storyline that all explodes together with The Avengers. Harry Potter already had the books written for them so not that impressive. Oh and if your gonna use the thing about the comics already being written then you have no idea what your talking about, these Marvel movies had to “create” story lines based off of origins over the years and be careful of the details. Potter had the scripts basically written.

      4. The Avengers IS a comic/cinema masterpiece and i’m glad this plan worked after all.

      • Strong Enough

        Add in the Heath Ledger death a few months before and that sparks nationwide interest

        ^ like the poster said above. This wasn’t heath last performance. his LAST movie didn’t make squat at the theaters. Don’t be one of those horrible people that say a move made half of it’s success off a DEAD man. your a disgrace

        The Avengers IS a comic/cinema masterpiece and i’m glad this plan worked after all.

        ^ LMAOOOOOOOOOO. keep telling yourself it’s a masterpiece.

        “oh 20 minutes of battle scenes and it’s a masterpiece!”

        i fear for my generation

    • Brian

      Troll. “It takes all of their most popular properties coming together for Marvel to even come close to Harry Potter or Batman at the box office.” We all know that the Justice League movie that eventually has to get made, no matter how many aborted attempts have already come to pass, will not even reach Fantastic Four levels of success. Really. And it damn sure won’t beat any X-Men film. And Dark Knight rises will be 3rd this summer to Avengers and Spider-Man. Batman Begins had only modest success. I’m not a Marvel fanboy, but I do like all superhero movies, and I can tell what sucks. DC is doing very little right. And Dark Knight wasn’t big because of the strength of that character – the Joker is as popular as any superhero (but you can’t have him in every Batman movie), and the boost from Ledger’s death pushed it over the top. Oh and these aren’t even Marvel’s top properties – these are all second tier properties that Marvel has built up into top-tier characters. While DC makes their top-tier (GL) characters go the opposite direction. The Avengers is a major achievement, but just a few of you out there are too caught up in your fanboy bias to see reality. DC movies suck. Marvel has like 10 or 12 IN PRODUCTION and all DC has after Rises is a Superman reboot, and nothing else. Better hope Zack Snyder knows what the hell he’s doing.

      • Strong Enough

        you think i give a f*ck about if DC or marvel is successful?

        Marvel can run DC into the ground and I would still be eating off the same plate.

        Take your flaming movie wars elsewhere.

        all i know is The Dark Knight is better than EVERY MARVEL movie

    • Brian

      Dark Knight is a great movie… mostly due to Nolan’s interpretation of the Joker and Ledger’s inspired performance. But it is not better than every Marvel movie. They can’t show an actual fight scene in any Batman movies because it would look too absurd – it’s always quick cuts and flashes of action because it is too difficult to have the Batman even trying to move quickly enough to fight 2 guys, let alone 12. But explain how a guy with no superhuman ability can BEND THE BARREL OF A RIFLE with ONE HAND? Or stop a moving van going 30-40 mph simply by falling on it from 3 stories up? Or save Maggie Gyllenhall by catching her falling from a skyscraper and relying on nothing to break their fall but some street garbage? After which the Joker just politely leaves the party? And these movies are supposedly Nolan going for “realism”? Right. Captain America is more believable. Face it – Dark Knight was a critical darling because of the Ledger factor and the use of the Joker, who is as well-known as the most popular superheroes. DKR will be 3rd this summer. Dark Knight’s spot near the top was an accident. The Avengers will have earned it.

      • habsfan86

        Gotta say im a batman guy over the avengers,that said just watched the avengers in imax and wow was that movie entertainment at its finest.action,dialouge,pacing was all great.ill def be going to spend $20 to relive the experience. I guess this is also my point on why I enjoy Batman movies more and they have a bigger affect on me. That avengers was great fun,no doubt about it, but I still prefer the dark tone of Batman and all the personal issues he deals with. And the fact that batman is just a man makes it all the much more badass. I dont feel like the avengers encourage much thought provoking ideas other than what it takes to be a team,i guess. still hell of a ride and greatly enjoyable. Just it doesnt hit home for me,and alot of others the way the nolan batman series has. I just wanted to post cuz i see so much dick measuring contests between batman and avengers fans. Im a fan of both and avengers kicked ass,and im happy it lived to the hype. hoping that TDKR will do the same, after the final trailer i dont think ill be dissapointed

  • Sugreev2001

    I loved the Harry Potter series,loved the Avengers and I’m a proud DC and Marvel fan…but I hold no one higher than Batman.So even if this,one of my favorite movies of all time (as of now),goes to the top…I’ll still want DKR to be a far stronger film.

  • Tim

    What’s the accomplishment here? Mash up a bunch of franchises into one movie, slap on 3D pricing and you better break records.

    • Ryder

      If you’re honestly gonna ask that than you’re just as jaded as most movie reviewers.

  • Griz

    OK . . . first of all, people complaining that this is no big deal? Of course it isn’t! We’re not movie execs, actors or shareholders, but we are FANS. . . .and which movie does well does not affect our cash flow, but it DOES affect what movies get made in the future. Do the words “We’re going to do an origin like Batman Begins” or “For the sequel, we’re thinking something like Dark Knight” ring any bells? When a movie does this well, it sets precedents . . . .that’s a big deal in any industry.

    And lastly, for the comments saying that 4 separate MARVEL franchises coming together to challenge Batman’s supremacy is no big deal: how about 4 (until recently) second tier MARVEL heroes from a company that is not allowed to showcase Spidey, X men or the FF? Cause if the situation was reversed, this would be akin to a Justice League movie taking on Spiderman’s opening record but without Supes, Bats, Wondy or Flash. WB would then have to WORK towards making GL, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman etc. famous and THEN make a Justice League movie . . . . That’s a lot of accomplishments in and of themselves, but the icing on the cake: now THOSE Leaguers are more famous than the DC Big 3.

  • chuck

    Yeah, it is so easy to make one the top grossing movies of all time by taking a bunch of unknown and unproven characters and launching each one into their own movies and then bringing them together.

    That is why the Justice Leauge is the number one movie of all time since it has proven characters to use (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman – all had successful live action tv shows). – oh wait it has never been made.

    That is why The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is the number one movie of all time since it mashed up a bunch of franchises into one movie. (Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, The Invisible Man, Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, Tom Sawyer, etc.) – oh wait it was a failure.

    So really, it’s not that big of an accomplishment it is so easy to do.

    Now you go do it.

  • Phoenix

    Aren’t records meant to be broken?

    If The Avengers does break Harry Potter’s record then its great, if not then some other movie will try. As it stands both The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are poised to break some records (not necessarily the all time first weekend box office record).

    Amidst all this record breaking talk people forget that the reason why The Avengers or any other film released afterwards are poised to do so is because of the quality of the product. As audience members these films are being made to entertain us in such a way that not only will they be remembered but also cherished. The box office success of these films depends on us and when we’re given such amazing films we’re more than happy to give our money for the theater experience.

    In the end, the box office success of The Avengers does not matter to us personally but it does send a message to the people who are behind the camera: “We loved the film you’ve made and we’re willing to support you if you continue making such entertaining movies.”

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  • Edward Lee

    … and the thread demonstrates why so much of the internet despises fanboys and, even worse, Josh Whedon’s fanboys.

    Nice job, Collider!

  • Dodge_hickey

    I know it’s opening weekend in America for The Avengers but please tone down the articles about it, I loved the movie (living in Europe) but everytime I come on here I see at least 3 Avengers related articles everyday!

    Also The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is Heath Ledgers last role, it counts as he appears in the flm and the release date was 25 December 2009 (USA)

  • Donte Underwood

    You can’t say that because they had a bunch of superheroes then it won’t be fair if it breaks the alltime record. That’s some stupid shit. This was a movie 4 years in the making. This wasn’t just out of the blue. They built up the hype and anticipation with IronMan, IronMan 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. They did not barely beat The Dark Knight. They surpassed that movie in almost every boxoffice aspect. Harry Potter was the last of its series, and The Avengers was only down by 10. You haters are just mad that The Avengers will top The Dark Knight’s second place spot easily, and might even top The Deathly Hallows. You can hate thee movie all you want, but don’t act like its earnings were unfair and undeserving. Remember, this movie was LOVED by most of its critics, too.

  • Dan

    I’m not a hater like a lot of the idiots that post TDKR is 1337!!!!! Eff the Avengers!!! or vice versa. But I don’t think there is a chance that TDKR can come close to topping Avengers at this point if the estimated $200 million is true. It’s not in 3D.

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  • adam


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  • Bill Graham

    THE DARK KNIGHT had the benefit of IMAX price uptick. That was a big push for the format at that time. If I remember correctly, IMAX had a fairly large portion of the BO. Not nearly 50%, but somewhere above 20% if I recall correctly.

    All of you complaining about why an article like this exists? This has ramifications. Just like AVATAR has had a lasting effect on films since its release. The fact that this film is IN 3D is directly related to AVATAR. Studios want that top spot, and this just became king of the mountain by a long shot.

    That shattered records and should shock anyone and everyone except the most absurd fanboys and optimists. $200 million in a single weekend is bonkers. This will make DC think long and hard about a potential JUSTICE LEAGUE and other franchises will start to eye the possibility of this in some degree.

    The optimist in me will hope that studios see this and realize that great reviews, great audience reaction, and a great teamup film is the magic formula.

  • AgentofShield

    The fact that Avengers made $207M in three days isn’t what matters. It’s what that amount represents to the fans that enjoy the franchise.

    What matters is that the Avenger Initiative will continue. All the risks paid off, so they’ll fully commit to More.

    The poor souls who enjoyed Green Lantern, Superman Returns, Kick-
    Ass, Wanted, or Scott Pilgrim should understand. Your movie doesn’t make enough $$$, the sequel takes Forever to greenlight, or not at all.

    Avengers fans don’t care how much the film grossed, we just love the fact that the Avengers sequels are guaranteed!

    • Bill Graham

      I don’t know if you’re aware, but SCOTT PILGRIM is a finished story, both as a film and as a graphic novel. The fans got their film, which will live on, and they had very little studio interference. Universal gave them the gem they (or, at least I) wanted.

      As for KICK-ASS, the film made plenty of money to justify a sequel (remember that rated-R films don’t make much money, overall). In fact, the director was already hand-picked by Vaughn and they are eyeing a September start. Part of the delay was in the obvious—Millar hadn’t written a sequel yet (or started on it).

  • lexi

    I would just like to state it really does not matter because the Hunger Games will be crushing all these movies in 2013

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