‘The Avengers’ Rules At Box Office, Joins $1 Billion Club

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's 'Dark Shadows' debuts at a distant #2.
By Ryan J. Downey

Chris Hemsworth in "Avengers"
Photo: Marvel

The Avengers isn't the only club to count Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the rest of the crew as members. Earth's Mightiest Heroes joined the $1 billion club over the weekend, shattering more box-office records and collecting enough cash to put it just behind "Alice in Wonderland" on the all-time worldwide gross list. "Dark Shadows," Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton's first collaboration since "Alice," settled for a distant #2 debut.

"The Avengers" reached the $1 billion mark as quickly as "Avatar" and the last "Harry Potter" movie, despite opening earlier overseas than in America. Marvel's action-packed tentpole (which unites several of their heroes) already broke the all-time opening weekend record when it opened last weekend, and with its $103.2 million estimated domestic gross this weekend, "The Avengers" is now the record holder for the biggest second-weekend number too. Thanks to its $628.9 million 19-day international haul, "The Avengers" is now one of only 11 movies to climb past the $1 billion mark worldwide.

Marvel's first movie under the Disney umbrella benefited from its comic book origins, repeat viewings, a positively reviewed story from director/co-writer Joss Whedon and the combined star power of folks like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. Truthfully, "Dark Shadows" never stood a chance. The eighth collaboration between Depp and Burton — a campy take on a decades-old low-budget vampire soap opera — made $28.8 million domestically during its first weekend in theaters. By comparison, Depp and Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" opened with $116.1 million two years ago.

"Think Like a Man," which previously enjoyed two weekends atop the box office prior to the arrival of "The Avengers," was #3 over the weekend with $6.3 million. Based on the self-help book from comedian Steve Harvey, "Think" has earned $81.9 million against a reported budget of just $12 million. "The Hunger Games" was #4 with $4.4 million, for a domestic total of $386.9 million. "The Lucky One" was #5 with $4.1 million for a $53.7 million total.

Fox Searchlight's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" did well with a modest expansion in theater counts, generating a healthy $2.7 million in 178 locations. "Girl in Progress" debuted with $1.4 million in 322 locations. Oscar winner "The Artist" went through one more expansion, in an apparent attempt to cash in on the Mother's Day holiday, but failed to generate new buzz with a paltry $214 per screen average.

Next weekend, Sacha Baron Cohen will go up against "The Avengers" in his role as a fictitious world leader in "The Dictator." The big-budget action flick "Battleship" will also arrive as well as a bit of counter-programming in the form of "What to Expect When You're Expecting," featuring an ensemble that includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks and Anna Kendrick.

Check out everything we've got on "Marvel's The Avengers," "Dark Shadows" and "The Hunger Games."

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