'Avengers' Towers With $103.2 Million, 'Dark Shadows' Lacks Bite

Breaking another record, The Avengers grossed a stunning $103.2 million during the weekend in North America, becoming the first movie to cross the $100 million mark in its sophomore outing and falling a slim 50 percent.

Worldwide, Avengers expects to jump the $1 billion mark on Sunday after only 19 days, matching the speed record set by Avatar and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, as well as becoming the 11th top grossing title of all time.

With Avengers doing such massive numbers, the news wasn't so good for Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's latest collaboration Dark Shadows, which debuted to a muted $28.8 million domestically, putting pressure on the Warner Bros. film to have strong legs.

Prerelease tracking had suggested that Burton's campy adaptation of the classic vampire soap opera would earn $35 million to $40 million. The movie, which cost $100 million to produce, only received a B- CinemaScore and skewed noticeably older, with 73 percent of the audience over the age of 25. Females made up 57 percent of the audience.

Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said the studio certainly wanted Dark Shadows to do more but added the film will benefit from being female-centric as Battleship and Men in Black 3 open on May 18 and May 25, respectively.

"We're hoping that the next few weeks set the pace for where the movie is going," Fellman said.

Avengers also beat Dark Shadows overseas, grossing $95.4 million in its third weekend for a foreign cume of $628.9 million. Domestically, Avengers' cume through Sunday was $373.2 million, becoming the fastest film to reach $300 million.

Dark Shadows opened to a $36.7 million internationally from 42 markets, a fair number but coming in on the lower end of expectations. It came in No. 1 ahead of Avengers in several European markets, including France (where Depp lives), where it grossed $4.6 million. It scored its biggest number in Russia, grossing $5.3 million.

The performance of the Joss Whedon-directed Avengers superhero pic is a substantial victory for Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney, propelling Disney's film division to No. 1 in domestic market share as of Sunday.

Avengers is such a powerhouse that IMAX and other big-screen venues split shows between that film and Dark Shadows (IMAX originally intended to swap out Avengers and play only Dark Shadows). Between the two titles, IMAX locaitons grossed $10.3 million worldwide over the weekend.

Avengers' global box office already has surpassed the global box-office totals of setup films Captain America: The First Avenger ($364 million), Thor ($449 million), Iron Man ($585 million) and Iron Man 2 ($624 million).
Internationally, Avengers already has eclipsed the three Spider-Man pics and The Dark Knight to become the most successful superhero title of all time.

Another headline at the domestic box office was Lionsgate and Pantelion's Hispanic-themed Girl in Progress, which came in No. 10, grossing $1.4 million. The film stars Eva Mendes.

At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel grossed $2.7 million from 178 theaters in its second weekend to crack the top 10 chart and land at No. 8. The pic's per screen average was an impressive $14,888. Overseas, the film has now earned a stellar $75.7 million

Fox Searchlight's Sheila DeLoach said the adult pic succeeded in serving as counter programming, as well as enjoying a boost from Mother's Day. In two weeks -- Memorial Day -- the John Madden-directed film will be playing in over 800 theaters.

Conversely, the Weinstein Co.'s Mother's Day rerelease of Oscar winner The Artist in 751 theaters across the country fell flat. The pic grossed $161,000 for a screen average of $214.

For full box office results, see below.

Domestic box office, May 11-13

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. The Avengers, 2/4,349, Disney/Marvel Studios, $103.2 million, $373.2
2. Dark Shadows, 1/3,755, Warner Bros., $28.8.
3. Think Like a Man, 4/2,052, Sony, $6.3 million, $81.9 million.
4. The Hunger Games, 8/2,531, Lionsgate, $4.4 million, $386.9 million.
5. The Lucky One, 4/2,839, Warner Bros., $4.1 million, $53.7 million.
6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, 3/3,079, Sony/Aardman, $3.2 million, $23.1 million.
7. The Five-Year Engagement, Universal, 3/2,569, $3.1 million, $24.4 million.
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2/178, Fox Searchlight, $2.7 million, $3.7 million.
9. Chimpanzee, 4/1,559, Disney, $1.6 million, $25.6 million.
10. Girl in Progress, 1/327, $1.4 million.

Peter Oberth
News by Peter Oberth
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