Weekend Box Office – THE AVENGERS Breaks All-Time Domestic Record with an Astounding $200.3 Million!

     May 6, 2012


The speculation stops here. The Avengers has crushed the all-time domestic weekend record by more than anyone imagined. Taking in an estimated $200.3 million from 4,349 locations, the Marvel superheroes flew past the $169.1 million of previous record-holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

Title Weekend Total
1 The Avengers $200,300,000 $200.3
2 Think Like A Man $8,000,000 $73
3 The Hunger Games $5,700,000 $380.7
4 The Lucky One $5,510,000 $47.9
5 Pirates! Band of Misfits $5,400,000 $18.5
6 The Five-Year Engagement $5,088,000 $19.1
7 Safe $2,508,000 $12.8
8 The Raven $2,470,000 $12
9 Chimpanzee $2,395,000 $23
10 The Three Stooges $1,800,000 $39.6

avengers-hawkeye-captain-america-black-widow-jeremy-renner-chris-evans-scarlett-johanssonHoly crap! If you read our article yesterday about the chances The Avengers had of passing the last Harry Potter film to take the domestic record, you know that even those who believed it could and would be done did not think it would be done by this much!  Instead of the $175 million that was projected, The Avengers has become the first film to break what many box office watchers believed to be an unbreakable barrier – $200 million in just three days. So add “Fastest to $200 million” to The Avengers growing list of shattered records!

Here is the new domestic top five for biggest first weekends

Title Total
1 The Avengers $200.3
2 Harry Potter 7 Part 2 $169.1
3 The Dark Knight $158.4
4 The Hunger Games $152.5
5 Spider-Man 3 $151.1


I will freely admit that I didn’t imagine I’d be writing this story. Which is not to say that I did not think The Avengers would be huge; I just did not think they would get to “All-Time Record” and-then-some huge. This is just one more example of how even folks who write about the box office for a living can get it wrong. If you’re keeping track, earlier this year I didn’t think The Hunger Games would get close to the third-highest domestic opening record (topping all Twilight Saga features in the process); and just last week I couldn’t imagine that Think Like A Man would claim a second week at number one (at least, not so definitively).  And that’s just 2012. The legendary run of Paul Blart: Mall Cop in 2009 still haunts me.

So, what did I think I’d be writing today? I was thinking more along the lines of “The Avengers top The Dark Knight for Second-Highest Weekend Debut of All-Time.”  The days are long gone when the $158.4 million of that 2008 blockbuster seemed untouchable. The $169.1 million of the final Harry Potter film, on the other hand? I thought that record would stand for awhile yet; or at least until The Dark Knight Rises this summer.

It has always been my belief that true blockbusters have to have a little something extra to get up to record-breaking levels. For example, the type of publicity that comes after one of your stars tragically dies before the premiere; or when the most profitable franchise in history wraps up its storied decade-long run. A record-breaker has to offer something for audiences outside of its target demographic, in other words. And, amazing ensemble cast aside, it was not clear to me that The Avengers was up to that challenge.

I have, er, assembled a list of the Marvel films that have led to this historic box office moment:

  1. Iron Man (2008) – $98.6 mil. debut; $318.4 domestic/$585.1 worldwide
  2. Iron Man 2 (2010) – $128.1 mil. debut; $312.4 domestic/$623.9 worldwide
  3. The Incredible Hulk (2008) – $55.4 mil debut; $134.8 domestic/$263.4 world
  4. Thor (2011) – $65.7 mil. debut; $181 domestic/$449.3 worldwide
  5. Captain America (2011) – $65 mil. opening; $176.6 domestic/$368.6 worldwide


avengers-imax-posterAll of five films debuted at number one – both Iron Man movies on this same weekend – but none hinted at the type of fanbase that this weekend’s enormous $200.3 million suggests. And, before you ask, yes – I left off Ang Lee’s 2003’s Hulk on purpose. No need to mar the occasion.

So, what does this movie have that the others didn’t? Aside from the obvious fact that five are superheroes are better than one, the fact that The Avengers had a 3D price premium is part of the reason it was able to pass The Dark Knight and Deathly Hallows 2.  And, the selection of Joss Whedon as director brought raised eyebrows from some in the industry, but I would argue that his involvement added Whedonverse fans to The Avengers’ already sizable appeal. Then there is the incredible marketing job that Marvel’s new owners/partners at Disney achieved. I am sure there wasn’t a person on the planet that didn’t know about The Avengers from as far back as 2009… or at least after Captain America got the subtitle The First Avenger.

Speaking of the planet, we told you yesterday that international numbers for The Avengers already topped $334 million after one week.  Add today’s $200.3 million domestic haul and that already tops $530 million in just ten days… and that doesn’t count Saturday’s and Sunday’s overseas numbers. (UPDATE: according to Disney, the worldwide estimate now stands at $641.8 million in twelve days).

With no other movies opening wide this weekend, I am going to end by revealing the unsurprising news that this weekend easily outpaced 2011 (and the debut of Marvel’s Thor) by over 30%.  Clearly next weekend’s Dark Shadows is not going to come close to challenging The Avengers so the only question left is: how front-loaded will this film be? I’d tell you my thoughts, but I’m pretty sure they’d be wrong.

Around The Web
  • Dan

    Plus what it makes Sunday?!?!?!?

    • MCP

      That includes Sunday, its why it says “estimated $200.3 million”.

      Congtratz to the movie, I guess…

      Wonder what the total would be without the 3D surcharge…

    • esn74

      Congrats to the Avengers! Took my son to the IMAX 3D version, money well spent. It delivered on every level.

      As mentioned by some, Deathly Hollows also had an IMAX 3D version, received stellar critical reviews, and it was Harry Potter… so it is a fair comparison. Avengers takes the crown fair and square.

  • geHuC

    Not to be a prick but please proofread what you post ! in the title it says 200 mil in the table you put 220, also hunger games is not a total of 38 mil but 380…

    • Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub


      • MCP

        I had figured that the extra $20 mil. was the midnight showing? But, I guess not…?

      • Nicole

        No, that was a total typo on my part. Sorry for the confusion- a little over-excited I guess?

  • Tyler

    Thats impressive, for any movie. But this deserves it. Cant wait for number 2.

  • Sugreev2001


  • Matt1

    I gladly contributed about $20 to that total…

  • Dustin

    Christopher Nolan: Challenge Accepted

  • JP

    But Deathly Hallows part 2 also had 3d,right?

    Anyway,nice to see this movie doing so well,it’s great,and will keep the Marvel cinematic universe running. Let’s hope the next movies are also good.

    • aaronsullivan

      Right, Deathly Hallows part 2 was definitely released in 3D as well and had the premium price advantage. I couldn’t tell if the writer thought that in the last article but he certainly shows it here. Maybe there is some loophole I don’t know about.

      Either way this movie is the type that is very rare in that it has laugh-out-loud moments and can easily be characterized as fun and “a good time” on the way out of the theater. It’s VERY entertaining, in other words, and, personally, it’s the first Marvel movie that I knew I wanted to see again soon after watching it.

      There’s a good chance many fans, including me, will like The Dark Knight Rises better because I really dig the Christopher Nolan vibe, but… I don’t think it’s going to be the same type of movie… at ALL. A much wider audience is going to give Avengers repeat business is all I’m saying. Christopher Nolan movies don’t really draw me back for repeat viewing even long after I’ve seen them and love them.

      Heck, that Spiderman movie looks pretty good if you don’t have an aversion to the whole fast reboot turn-a-round. The first crowd laugh came from that trailer and the trailer was very careful to avoid almost anything that looked similar to Sam Raimi’s take.

      This could be a Summer to remember at the movie theater. :)

    • Braden

      Yes, HP was released in 3D, but not on nearly the same amount as The Avengers. Over 3/4 of the screens the film was shown on were 3D and that doesn’t include the 275 IMAX screens. That means 3/4 of the film’s box office was increased by $3 per ticket. Using basic math that would mean that about $25-$28 million is just the $3 ticket bump of showing it in 3D. Essentially, Marvel and Disney forced the #D version to be the one seen by making the majority of screens show the 3D version. And when you add the IMAX titles you can factor in an additional $6 on tickets purchased on those showings.
      This is not to take away from The Avengers success this weekend. It would have still obtained the record but by a much lesser margin if it was shown in 2D. Honestly, it is for this reason that I feel the gaging of films by there financial return over the weekend is largely flawed. The way these things should be tracked is by number of tickets sold. By doing this you have a truer comparison between films and their appeal and success with audiences. And it removes the increased cost for 3D and IMAX screens from the equation.

      • soforizo

        3/4 of the screens were not 3D. At most 52%.

  • Albert

    I doubt that Batman is going to beat that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bigger fan of Batman than of The Avengers but we have to recognize that The Avengers is pretty much all the blockbuster superheroes together which is the reason why is breaking so many records.

    It’s going to be pretty hard to beat a 200 million record in a weekend.

  • Jim

    In regards to 3D price points, Box Office Mojo is reporting 25.3 million tickets sold this weekend, which is also a record and about 3 million more than Dark Knight…


  • dogg

    Some nice vindication for those of us who’ve been saying Joss Whedon’s a genius for 20 years. Now go back and watch Angel, bitches. No thanks to you that and Firefly died early deaths.

    • Neo

      Whedon is still a crappy director.
      Anyone could have done the same, if not even better, with the cast and characters he was given.

      BTW, just because movie made 200M doesn’t mean it has quality, it actuallly only shows that US movigoers understand only crappy superhero bullshit, everything else is beyond their intellectual abilities.

      • Anon

        Well it’s also acclaimed by critics and fans alike and is making tons of money over seas so clearly the world’s “moviegoers understand only crappy superhero bullshit”, at least by your definition. Whedon wrote AND directed the film and if you think successfully balancing a film that essentially stars 4 protagonists (all with deeply established and very different backstories, worlds and fan bases) than clearly you’re ignorant to the process of filmmaking. This movie could have EASILY been bad or at least mediocre with fans feeling cheated because their favorite characters were either underutilized or misused but that didn’t happen. Plus it’s not easy to capture the essence of someone else’s created character, let a lone the dozen or so characters that Whedon put in The Avengers, without straying a bit from the original but all the characters seemed like the characters we’d met in the other films which is no small feat.

      • Scott

        You are one sinical bastard if you saw the avengers and didn’t like it. You must be one of those kids who sits around in black thinking how special they are because they are so much smarter than everyone else. Meanwhile everyone around you is having fun. It’s ok to smile and laugh and have a good time. Go ahead and try it I promise you no one is looking.

      • That Film Nerd

        Andddd the Hipsters finally come out to play!! LOL!!

      • TwoCentsTooMuch

        You may want to rephrase your statement where you say “Anyone” could have done better. I don’t think “Anyone” thinks you could have done better. Nor could anyone that actually knew what they were talking about here, which would be “actual” film directors, short of a very small list of professionals.

        The handling of such a huge cast of protagonists is something relegated to only the most accomplished of directors: Jackson, Spielberg, Nolan, Cameron, and now Nolan. Well, that is when the studio wants that cast to be handled well, to see what happens when an unqualified director attempts to handle a large cast look no further than movies such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Star Wars prequels, New Years Eve *blech*.

        Basically what I’m trying to say is you’re attempting to underplay the success of this film through the use of wild conjecture and baseless assertions, much like you’ve been trolling the other Avengers articles, but maybe you should leave “even” that to someone more qualified.

        PS: Also, with that bit about Americans, did you think anyone was going to take you seriously when you threw that ad hominem attack out there? The movie has broken box office records across eastern Asia and Europe, and when it passes $1 billion it will be thanks to an international audience, not an American one.

      • Hrothgar

        I went to see this movie mostly because Whedon directed and co-wrote it. He made the movie the success it became, and if you don’t think that is true, then you have never seen his other shows because it had his sense of humor all over it and I love it. This movie actually made me laugh out loud and that is hard to do.

        Now go Netflix Buffy and Angel. You won’t regret it.

        And WB must be kicking themselves for not letting Joss finish his Wonder Woman script and direct it.

      • Dan

        What a douchey hater

      • dogg

        Another idiot who has to work in how stupid Americans are into every conversation. But he has to do it with a sh!tload of AMERICAN

      • dogg

        Hey, Neo. Does it ever bother you that you have to use a crap load of American technology to call us stupid? Does the irony ever register, or do you just block it from your mind? Just wondering.

        Put a flag on the moon and then we’ll talk, bitch.

  • Kip

    This is the second article I’ve read that mildly dismissed the Avengers record over Deathly Hallows by claiming it had the 3D surcharge advantage that HP lacked. However, as JP pointed out, the Deathly Hallows Part II also had 3D. Now, many moviegoers (like myself) may have sought the 2D version, but nonetheless they are an apples to apples comparison.

    The Dark Knight, however, did not have the 3D surcharge, and neither will Rises, so it’ll be tough to topple this record.

  • Richard

    I doubt The Dark Knight Rises is going to beat that monstrous record. I saw the movie yesterday and let me tell you the theater were packed and people had to stand to watch the movie.

  • Strong Enough

    The only way a another movie is going to beat this is if it comes out in 3D as well.

    I hate to be one of the assholes that compare TDKR to Avengers but TDKR is not going to beat this record because it’d not coming out in 3D.

    But the real question is whether Avengers will have legs. Dark Shadows, Battleship, MIB 3 and Snow White are all coming out in the next weeks.

    MIB 3 will debut at the number one spot. saw it tracking higher than Prometheus!

    even though it broke the record will we shall see if it keeps going

    • Tyler

      That is a very valid point. However, Dark Shadows wont have a chance because it just isnt a movie of he same caliber with the star power and huge fan base. Battleship, though doing very well overseas, has been slaughtered by critics stateside. Men in Black III will do good, but i can see it doing just “okay” due to the fact that the last one was a clean decade ago, and it wasnt so well received. The Avengers, i believe, will continue in the top spot through May, because the competition, thoigh abundant, doesnt have strong legs or a huge following. By June, The Avengers will have been out long enough to have other movies take over, more than likely starting with Prometheus. But this is all just my opinion and thoughts on the matter.

      • Strong Enough

        Good points but I think Battleship will knock out Avengers.

        plus their basically the same movie :)

      • Jesus

        @Strong Enough (the reply option only goes so far down) I don’t know, we had a press screening of Battleship last Thursday and frankly, what you’ve seen in trailers is all that film has. It’s Hasbro attempting to recapture Transformers under another name, but with some traditional-looking aliens (as opposed to some that look like a diesel truck) to boot. The strong word of mouth is going to carry Avengers at least through this next weekend, and considering how Battleship will be panned, it’s a very likely thing Avengers will make it through that weekend too.

  • junierizzle

    I think TDKR might come up short because it wont be in 3D. I’m sure Warner Bros. Hates that but I’m glad it wont be in 3D.

  • Richard

    Now the question: Can TDKR beat this record?

  • Pingback: Los Vengadores baten todos los records de taquilla en USA | La Casa de EL()

  • Cole

    Just another superhero flick who broke records…
    Spiderman broke it, Batman broke it, this broke it…

    Of course, another question is, is there anything intelligent in these movies… Yeah sure, just like there are nutrients in CocaCola :)

    Movies for the masses – mediocre movies for mediocre audience.
    Or how old romans used to say – bread and games.
    Well, at least now the deadbeats in USA can stop Occupy Wall Street, they sure showed how they got enough money to spend on crap.

  • Debo

    I agree with Kip. No 3D – No upcharge. It will def be hard for TDKR to top. But I don’t think B.O. numbers will reflect the qualities of either film. TDKR will be popular, but no doubt probably with a somewhat different audience.

  • Nomis1700

    I won’t saw TDKR will break this record like a twig but I do think that chance is big :D

    By the way, HP7.2 was also released in 3D back in the day.

  • 198d

    Movies making so much money doesn’t affect me directly in any way, so I would usually not care. Seeing as this is a really great film, I’m glad it is doing so damn well because it will show that comic movies don’t have to hide their DNA. This movie shows that people actually like it when a movie is based off of “something” it can proudly integrate that “something” in the film; that it isn’t too far fetched for audiences.

    I had a blast watching The Avengers, I actually laughed out loud during this film than some recent comedies.

    I’d say that I can die happy now after watching this, but he’ll no. I’m ready for número dos!

  • 198d

    I had a blast watching The Avengers, I actually laughed out loud during this film, unlike* some recent comedies.

  • John T

    “more than anyone imagined.”

    Just because you have a poor imagination doesn’t mean that everyone else does. I’m sure quite a few people predicted it would reach those numbers.

    • Nicole

      Actually, I read A LOT of box office “what-if” stories. I did not read one that mentioned more than $200 million in three days. Beating TDK – yes.
      Taking the record – yes again. Find me one written before May 5th that gives $200 mil. as a possibility and I will gladly admit I have no imagination.

  • diles1

    Just some food for thought. I was curious how this massive obliteration of the previous box office record stood against previous record breakings, so I did a quick calculation of some of the biggest differences.

    Return of the Jedi beats Star Trek II (160%+)
    The Lost World beats Batman Forever (138%)
    Batman beats Ghostbusters II (126%)
    The Avengers beats Harry Potter 8 (118%)

    If we rank the orderings in terms of inflation adjustment, then we get

    The Avengers beats TDK (116%)

    And, of course, the Avengers managed a midnight opening that was %43 of HP8′s.

    In other words, this record, while incredible, should fall within a few years, though the Dark Knight Rises lack of 3-D will handicap it substantially.

  • Scurvy

    Two Points:

    1. I think the Sunday estimates are going to come in higher than expected. Mrs. Scurvy and I went back today for the first showing this morning. It was so busy, they had to add extra 2d showings. The had the movie playing every 15 minutes!! I’ve never seen a movie show every 15 minutes before.

    2. I don’t think TDKR is going to beat this, even if it had 3d. While I don’t doubt TDKR is going to be fantastic, it isn’t going to be as fun and light hearted as The Avengers. I can almost guarantee that I will not go to see it twice opening weekend (even though I’ll probably watch it every time I see it on TV like I do with Batman Begins and TDK). I cannot remember the last time I had so much FUN at a movie that I wanted to go back so soon.

    • Cartersvillevol

      I think you’re exactly right. One local theater sold out 5 of 7 shows on a Sunday – - pretty remarkable.

  • Pingback: AVENGERS Do-It-Yourself Costumes()

  • Pragmator

    Here’s my take-away from this story … Avengers made an estimated $200M and a bunch of other movies STILL made some decent scratch. This tells Hollywood that people are plenty ready to go out to a theater and spend some money–just give them something worth going to see.

    Congrats to Marvel. The movie was fabulous.

  • tarek

    Let’s hope Joss will do a second season of Firefly.

    • blah

      That wont ever happen. All the actors have moved on. They already stated in order to do a 2nd firefly season .. even if it will make boat loads of money.. All of the actors would have to commit career suicide since they all have different shows there in at this point.

  • Smee

    A huge factor in its opening weekend box office is how damn good it is! I’m a much bigger Batman fan than I am a Marvel fan, but this was one of the most fun movies I’ve ever seen. I expect good word of mouth and repeat viewings will keep this running strong for at least another week or two.

  • movie anaylzer

    My personal thought is if i were a studio , and i wanted to knockout the avengers , i would have had Batman , Spiderman and some other characters similar to which the avengers had . And yes put it it in 3D Format and IMAX 3D . And I would get Christopher Nolan to Direct it . I believe that would make it happen .

  • Thomas

    Joss Wheedon is a very good genre writer, but I wish Disney would appoint somebody else to do the directorial duty. Somebody with strong visual flair like Tarsem, Scott Brothers (Ridley would not touch this, Tony..maybe), Wachowski Bros (not likely, too mainstream for them), or maybe Dominic Sena or Simon West. The writers, Joss 7 team, can still steer the whole project. What the project needs somebody with sleeker visual style.

    • Aarns

      Marvel is way too cheap to have any big name blockbuster director do their film. Even Jon Favreau got too expensive for them. This was Joss’ strongest directorial effort. He’s better with actors than cinematography where as most of the people you named are essentially hands off with actors or just terrible with them and instead are ALL about the visuals. You need an actors director who is good with ensembles in order to make a movie like this work. That’s Joss’ bread and butter (Buffy, Firefly, serenity, etc.). Only other young-ish director who is equally or more up to that ensemble task is J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek). I think most people would said that Avengers had the best action sequences of any of the Avenger franchise films and that’s an accomplishment that Joss had something to do with.

  • Thomas

    Or Disney could court the director of PIRATES OF CARIBBEAN movies, Gore Verbinski. He is pretty good with big set pieces, and his interpretation of hell/limbo as endless white dunes where Jack Sparrow is stuck in, is full of visual wit.

    • Hrothgar

      I’m sorry but I haven’t watch a Pirates movie since the second one. Yeah, he has a lot of action but his plots make zero sense. To me those movies are like Transformers. People go see them to watch things go “boom” and that is the gist of it (I don’t watch Transformers either, I like my action with a bit more wit). Joss did a great job and did much more than smash buildings, he gave each character depth and made you wish there were three or four hours of that movie.

      • Lockheede

        His first cut was 3 hours. The video release is rumored to have 30-ish minutes of deleted scenes…

      • soforizo

        This movie was pleasantly surprising. Only thing I’ve seen of Joss Whedon was Firefly and I thought the concept of Avengers would be way out of his league. The movie happen to be entertaining throughout; due to the witty banter the movie didn’t feel like it had what I call “slow” moments. It’s also the first Marvel movie where I actually liked the humor.

  • Pingback: Avengers breaks weekend box office record | Bazaar Daily News()

  • cell989

    I went to watch it for a 2nd time on Saturday, and we had to purchase tickets for the last show, because all others were sold out :( It reminded me of going to themeparks, where you have 1hr wait lines, except the ride lasted 2+ hours and it was a total blast. I really enjoyed watching this at the theater, the crowd was awesome, everyone cheered, clapped, and laughed throughout the entire movie. My dad doesnt speak a single word in English yet he watched it all without sleeping or boring out. This movie really has some impressive action sequences, IronMan alone has more action in the suit than his other 2 movies combined, same can be said for Thor, Hulk and Cap. Who ever chose Josh to direct this movie deserves a raise, he filmed this movie perfectly, such a herculean task made look easy. Every hero gets their moment of shine, no one is underplayed. The fans are happy because Josh made sure their fav heroes were relevant through out the movie. I cannot wait for #2, which I know is still years away, but maybe with all of this success, it pushes it out a little faster. Im not always happy about movies selling millions of $$$$ but with the success of this movie, we are guaranteed a sequel, and that can only be good, if Josh takes the helm again. I still think the Dark Knight Rises can pull it off, but it wont be an easy feat.

  • Pingback: Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige Talk THE AVENGERS End-Credits Scene()

  • Pingback: Www.SobraoDeFlow.Com || Noticias || NOTICIA – Pelicula Los Vengadores Hacen Historia! ||()

  • Pingback: Www.SobraoDeFlow.Com || Noticias || NOTICIA – Pelicula Los Vengadores Hacen Historia! ||()

  • Pingback: Www.SobraoDeFlow.Com || Noticias || NOTICIA – Pelicula Los Vengadores Hacen Historia! ||()

  • Pingback: Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige talk on Thanos end-credit scene in Avengers : TC Games and More()

  • Pingback: NOTICIA – Pelicula Los Vengadores Hacen Historia! : Los Traketeros | Los Traketeros A Otro Nivel()

  • Pingback: THE COLLISION: Episode 6 – THE AVENGERS()

  • Pingback: Disney Confirms THE AVENGERS 2()

  • Pingback: After Scoring Big with THE AVENGERS, Joss Whedon Thanks His Fans()

  • macias9

    as Billy explained I didnt know that a stay at home mom able to get paid $7613 in a few weeks on the computer. have you read this webpage N u t t y R i c h dot c o m

  • Pingback: Comics NV Los Vengadores baten todos los records de taquilla en USA | Comics NV()