I had a typical movie conversation with a film fan friend who was my guest for our advanced IMAX screening of “The Avengers.” While drinking a beer at a bar next to the theater, this former film student made a bold claim: “The theater going experience is archaic.” When I hear the word archaic, I think of not using a smart phone or reading from an actual newspaper. This statement, though a strong possibility for the future of film, doesn’t hold up to 2012 box office numbers. It’s embracing the agony of defeat too quickly. Thankfully, the Entertainment industry is cranking out decent products…and the people are responding. The archaic statement certainly doesn’t apply for the monstrous box office performance of “The Avengers” this past weekend. In three days, the Marvel comic book film has grossed $207.4 million! As anticipated, Disney bounced back from their money losing “John Carter” flop. Interesting enough, ‘Carter’ increased business over 1200% thus providing an alternate for overflow traffic to sold out “The Avengers” screenings.
Nikki Finke of Deadline.com compiled the statistics on “The Avengers” whopping box office success. The following stats speak for themselves:
· Biggest domestic opening weekend of all time.
· Fastest film to reach $200M (3 days).
· Highest Saturday of all time: $69.7M.
· Passed international box office totals of Captain America ($192M), Iron Man ($266.7M), Thor ($268.3M), and Iron Man 2 ($311.5M) in 12 days of release.
· Biggest opening weekend of all time in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Central America, Peru, Bolivia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines.
å· Passed the global box office totals of Captain America ($364M) and Thor ($449M) and Iron Man ($585M) and Iron Man 2 ($624M).
· 110 domestic IMAX locations established a new opening Saturday record.
· Biggest IMAX domestic opening weekend for a digital only release.
· Highest grossing opening weekend in IMAX’s history
· Domestic weekend theater average: $46,063.
· International weekend estimate: $151.5M
· In 52 territories representing about 95% of the international market.
· International cume: $441.5M
· Global cume estimate: $641.8M
· Crossed the $600M global box office threshold today after just 12 days of release.
· Performance to date in key international territories: UK $48.1M, Mexico $40.2M, Australia $32.2M, Korea $31.3M, Brazil $31.0M, France $26.4M, Italy $18.8M, Germany $18.3M, Russia $17.9M, China $17.4M, Spain $14.4M, Taiwan $14.3M, Philippines $11.5M.
· IMAX global total box office: $31.2M
· Cinema Score: A+
· Rotten Tomatoes: 94% positive reviews
· Audience: 50% over 25, 50% under 25; 60% male, 40% female; 55% couples, 24% family, 21% teens.
· Viewing: 52% 3D, 40% traditional 2D, 8% IMAX, 4% premium large format.
A few things one could notice while analyzing with statistics.
3D Helps the Bottom Line: In my mind, there’s little doubt the 3D surcharge inflated the grosses for “The Avengers.” Recently, consumers have opted for the traditional 2D especially when families attend a movie. (The more children in the group, the more likely the adult who pays will pick 2D) This is not the case for “The Avengers.” People whom decided to watch it in 3D were the consumers who made the better choice!
The Global Box Office is a Juggernaut: Around the world in numerous countries, “The Avengers” box office records were ‘smashed.’ Never doubt the power of a film with strong awareness, mass appeal, well known branding, and an easily translatable dialogue. Expect the success of the International mass appeal strategy to continue.
IMAX Sure Can Sell: Deadline.com also reported IMAX screenings ran out of seats to sell! The biggest mistake would be for IMAX to give up all their theaters to “Dark Shadows” release this upcoming weekend. This is similar to when “Hunger Games” gave up a majority of its IMAX runs to “Wrath of the Titans.” Yet, ‘Games’ easily defeated ‘Wrath’ at the box office when this occurred. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have nothing on “The Avengers” when it comes to IMAX.
Organic Appeal Trumps Generic Hype: With an A+ CinemaScore rating and the uproarious applause at my screening, the audience unanimously has been satisfied. In fact, a comic book movie has to appeal to more then just the geeks and nerds who dream about a film this grand. As society becomes more diverse, inclusion is key for a blockbuster. Four-quadrant success (one that appeals to the young and old as well as both genders) leads to strong word of mouth. All the money a studio can spend cannot make a film this successful.
The Length of “The Avengers’ Legs TBD: Successful Word-of-Mouth movies have legs and last long in theaters. Many analysts aren’t predicting how well “The Avengers” will do in the coming weeks. This looks to be the Number 1 movie at least this upcoming weekend. However, will “Dark Shadows,” “Battleship,” or “Men in Black 3” dethrone it? (Probably the latter film) Or are they no match for the repeat viewers re-watching “The Avengers?”