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Weekend Wrap-Up: Avengers Assembled!

July 25th, 2011

The weekend race at the box office turned out to be not quite as close as expected with Captain America: The First Avenger running away with things. Fortunately, while Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 fell a little faster than expected, the overall box office was a little stronger than expected. It still fell 27% from last weekend, but a 30% decline would not have been surprising here. Compared to last year, the weekend total of $191 million was 17% higher, while the gap between 2011 and 2010 has close from just over $600 million to just over $400 million in roughly ten days. Revenue is still down by 6%, while ticket sales are close to 8% lower, but if we can end summer less than $300 million off 2010's pace, we might be able to close the gap entirely by the end of the year.

Expectations for The Avengers rose a bit over the weekend, as Captain America: The First Avenger unexpectedly won the box office race with relative ease. It pulled in $65.06 million over the weekend, which was within a rounding error of Thor's opening at the beginning of summer. That shows that even with way too many comic book movies, moviegoers will still respond to good reviews and a strong advertising campaign. By this time next week, Captain America will have more than $100 million, making it the 18th Marvel super hero movie to do so, while the combined total of The Avengers precursors is already over $1 billion.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 broke more records over the weekend, but not the good kind. It suffered the greatest decline in movie history, in terms of raw dollars, down $121,767,215. To put this into perspective: only seven films have opened with more than that. It fell almost as much as Part 1 opened with. Its decline was 71.97%, the fourth worst for a film that opened in first place. (Only Friday the 13th, Bruno, and A Nightmare on Elm Street performed worse.) On the other hand, the film still managed $47.42 million over the weekend for a total of $273.54 million after two. At this pace, it will reach $300 million next weekend, while it will become the biggest hit in the franchise before long. It might not become the biggest hit of the summer, however.

Despite earning better than expected reviews, Friends with Benefits only managed $18.62 million over the weekend. This is weaker than No Strings Attached opened with earlier in the year, but not by a large margin. Since many of the R-rated comedies that have been released this year have had better than average legs, this film should still become a midlevel hit, but it will be the weakest of the direct competition.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon held up better than expected earning $12.05 million over the weekend for a running tally of $325.84 million. It should get to $350 million by the time it fades from theaters, which might be enough to become the biggest hit of the year.

Horrible Bosses was right behind with $11.88 million over the weekend for a total of $82.57 million after three. It is on pace to reach $100 million at the box office, joining a growing list of films released in 2011 to reach that milestone. (There have been 16 films to make it to the century mark, and three currently in theaters that are on pace to either get there, or come very, very close.)

The only film in the sophomore class was Winnie the Pooh, which earned $5.16 million over the past three days for a total of $17.59 million after ten. At this pace, it will reach $25 million, matching original expectations. I expect home market sales will be better.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Captain America: The First Avenger, Friends with Benefits, Horrible Bosses, Winnie the Pooh