Four superhero franchises converge in the highly-anticipated team-up The Avengers [AVNGR]. Marvel planted the seed for the film with a post credit scene in Iron Man, which opened to $98.6 million in 2008, followed by another in The Incredible Hulk the same summer. Although Iron Man 2 debuted with $128.1 million in 2010, the sequel was not as well-received and its total box office did not exceed the original. Thor and Captain America got their stand alone film last summer when the Norse god hammered $65.7 million a year ago this weekend, while The First Avenger followed suit with $65.1 million. Robert Downey Jr. [RDOWN], Chris Evans [CEVAN], Chris Hemsworth [CHEMS] and Mark Ruffalo [MRUFF] star as the four superheroes finally brought together in The Avengers by Nick Fury to take on a common enemy. As directed by fan-favorite Joss Whedon [JWHED], the end product looks to be greater than the sum of each individual part, which may attract even non-comic fans who may not have seen one of the prequels. Disney has already opened The Avengers overseas and the overwhelmingly positive reviews has only further fuel the buzz.
Much like The Hunger Games earlier this year, the competition has ceded the weekend to the PG-13 rated blockbuster tentpole. Although advanced ticket sales have not matched The Hunger Games ($152.5 million opening weekend), The Avengers will enjoy the premium surcharge for 3D. Presales are outpacing Spider-Man 3, which opened this weekend in 2007 to $151.1 million. The box office records of mid-summer releases The Dark Knight’s $158.4 million and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II’s $169.2 million though may be out of reach with school still in session. The Avengers could come close and assemble around $158 million from 4349 theaters.
Think Like a Man [TLKAM] should hold its own against the juggernaut and finish second with a still robust $10 million.
Pirates! Band of Misfits [PIRTS] remains the top option for families with young children. The animated film may drop 35% to $7 million. Fellow sophomore pic The Five-Year Engagement [5YENG] won't fare as well and tumble 50% to $5.5 million.
That’s the whisper from the virtual trading floor.
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