The final value was $207.40 Million
IN THE MOVIES there are few weekends quite like the first weekend in May. It wasn't always like that -- in the '90s less grandiose titles like "Indecent Proposal" and "Basic Instinct" lured couples into the theaters primarily as a warmup to the big summer blockbusters (see weekend history at Box Office Mojo). Then in 2000 came "Gladiator," which didn't have a stellar opener ($34M), but it was big enough to prove that, for summer, earlier is better. The rest is history, with "Spider-Man," "X-Men 2," and "Iron Man" all occupying this coveted slot.
This year that spot will be taken by none other than "The Avengers," and in theory it should reach the heights typical of this weekend -- after all, it brings together Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, and, well, Scarlett Johansson. Certainly the folks at Marvel/Disney have been prepping the way for the release ever since the first "Iron Man," and they even booted Edward Norton as the Hulk to make sure all went well. It's big.
But is bigger better? We're not so sure. Our worry is last year's "Thor." Sure, it did a $65 million opener in the first-of-May weekend, but it was -- well -- weird. And that $65 million pales in comparison to the $128 million "Iron Man 2" squeezed out of the same weekend just a year before. It gets worse in that the mythology of "Thor" will fit heavily into "The Avengers," and that will be a serious turn-off to plenty, especially women.
Is there hunger for "The Avengers"? Sure -- and if this storyline focused on S.H.I.E.L.D. or Iron Man or, really, anything else, it would draw in spades. But word will get out before the release, and Marvel will have to learn the hard way that Norse gods just, well, aren't as cool as Samuel Jackson. It's strange to call it a disappointment with these kinds of numbers, but we see a $75 million letdown for an ensemble piece that, we can already see, should have been so much more.