Few would be surprised to see "Marvel's The Avengers" break a few box-office records when it releases in theaters Friday at midnight. The assembly of Earth's mightiest heroes is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer and will certainly give the year's biggest film to date, "The Hunger Games," some Hulk-sized competition.
"Avengers" is already topping charts overseas with $260.5 million in earnings so far, according to Deadline. The website reported that when it finally opens in the U.S., Canada, Russia and China, it has the potential of grossing $585 million worldwide through Sunday.
Between exclusive clips and on-set stills, the promotion behind the Joss Whedon-directed flick has been nothing short of genius. Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations believes it's a culmination of building hype through the years with past Marvel films.
"Awareness has been through the roof, as Marvel has done an amazing job creating buzz for their heroes over the last few years thanks to an ultra-successful run of solo movies," Bock said. " 'The Avengers' is the culmination of Marvel's master plan for worldwide domination, and guess what? It's working!"
BoxOffice.com's Phil Contrino believes Disney deserves a lot of the credit. "They successfully capitalized on the buzz that every trailer created and they expertly [ran] a global campaign," he says. "This is a text-book example of how to do things right."
Box Office Guru editor Gitesh Pandya, agrees, "Disney has done everything right with promoting 'The Avengers.' Releasing overseas before the U.S. release to capitalize on local holidays was a great move and is paying off well. A lack of competition makes it the only game in town."
But where will "The Avengers" stand when it isn't the only game in town? There's no question that "The Dark Knight Rises" will be another blockbuster hit, but which heroes will leave theaters most triumphant?
"It's definitely going to be a close race between 'Avengers' and 'The Dark Knight Rises,' " says Contrino, "but I'm still giving the edge to 'TDKR.' Last installments tend to be very successful. Just look at what happened with 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King' and 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.' "
Contrino is, of course, referring to the final "Harry Potter" installment's current rank at #3 on the list of largest worldwide film grosses of all time. "Return of the King" currently holds its standing at #5. If "Avengers" continues on its successful track, there's a good chance it will end up in the same league.
" 'The Avengers' may challenge 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2''s [opening-weekend] record of $169 million. This isn't just a movie, it's an event. Expect nothing short of $160 million opening weekend and up to $450 million domestic," Bock predicted.
He also agrees that "Avengers" may lose its inevitable summer box-office reign when Batman returns to Gotham.
" 'The Avengers' is probably the most hyped summer kick-off film since the original 'Spider-Man' a decade ago, and will likely be the biggest film of the summer ... until 'The Dark Knight Rises' debuts," he said. "This is a classic Marvel vs. DC superhero matchup that will see both come out victorious, as both are expected to top a billion worldwide. No Marvel film has ever reached those heights before, but Earth's mightiest superhero mash-up certainly has the firepower to topple that mountain."
But Batman's rise on the horizon is no reason to discount Captain America and Thor just yet. Bock believes the Marvel franchise has incredible selling power as it continues. " 'The Avengers' will assemble again — probably every two years until the end of cinema as we know it. With so many interchangeable characters and stories to tell, in the very near future, we may be talking about the highest-grossing film franchise of all time."
What movie do you think will come out on top: "The Avengers" or "The Dark Knight Rises"? Leave your prediction below!
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