Box office estimates are often off--as was seen early this weekend when professional prognosticators of such things were expecting The Avengers to make around $68 million on Friday. When that was adjusted up to $80 million by the next day, it became evident that early estimates of $150 million to $175 million in its domestic opening weekend were conservative. $200 million--a number no movie had previously come close to--began to be the reach target Avengers was shooting for, and last night it was announced by Disney that the film had met that expectation, coming in at a record-shattering $200.3 million in the US and bringing its global box office total to almost $650 million.
This morning, though, the estimates have proven a bit low again and, with the actual ticket revenue counted, the weekend is actually not the $31 million by which they thought it had smashed the previous opening weekend record...but in fact closer to $40 million, with The Avengers opening at more than $207 million in the U.S., according to The Hollywood Reporter.
At $207.1 million, The Avengers seems likely to remain the top-grossing film of the year, flying in the face of estimates made just last week that The Dark Knight Rises would take the top spot. It's also about a quarter higher than the estimates at the beginning of the week. It's possible that this could be a rising tide that lifts all boats, particularly with a new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises screening before The Avengers in many cities, but given how far off the experts were it seems more likely that barring a real surprise from the Bat-franchise, they'll just have to admit they lost a grip on this one.
The Hunger Games performed similarly earlier this year, shattering expectations that had been set for a $100 million opening and going on to gross $152 million in its opening weekend and remain in the top spot for four weeks. Based on the first in a trilogy of novels by young adult author Suzanne Collins, that movie has sequels built into it, whereas The Avengers is guaranteed a sequel based on performance, but none was announced before the film was made. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has, however, hinted that Marvel's popular Civil War storyline might be the basis for a third Avengers, which implied that Marvel has been considering what's next even if they hadn't yet officially greenlit anything. Based on the film's after-credits sequence and the suggestion by Feige that a Guardians of the Galaxy movie may be imminent, many fans are speculating that the second film may be loosely based on The Infinity Gauntlet.