The Summer Movie Season has just begun but a film has already staked a claim on becoming its champion. Avengers: Infinity War exploded into theaters with another favorable rating from critics on the Tomatometer at 84%. As stated in this column last week – “do not be surprised if the film opens to the third (maybe second) highest opening weekend ever, reclaiming the Marvel record while Black Panther continues to linger in the Top Ten for its 11th straight week.” More on the latter below, but Infinity War did much better than predicted. Not only has it already outgrossed Justice League in just three days, but if the estimates hold, it has just bested The Force Awakens to have the largest opening weekend of all-time. Now it becomes a question of just how far it will climb the charts from here.
Avengers: Infinity War generated $39 million in ticket sales on Thursday, which was the fourth highest ever, behind the last two Star Wars films ($57 & $45 million, respectively) and the final Harry Potter film ($43.5 million). The film’s Friday (which included the Thursday previews) became the third-best ever, and by the end of the weekend, it jumped to the top spot. The first thing that stands out is that every film that has opened to more than $200 million has cracked the $600 million barrier (Titanic and Avatar round out the exclusive seven films to achieve that.) Is there anything standing in its way to stop it? This is where the decision to move up the release date from May 4 to Apr. 27 is likely to pay off for Marvel and Disney.
Looming in the back half of May are Deadpool 2 and Solo: A Star Wars Story, both likely to open well over $100 million. The top earners after 21 days in release break down as such: The Force Awakens ($770.3 million), The Last Jedi ($548.9) Jurassic World ($527.3), Black Panther ($520.8) and The Avengers ($476.6). Except for The Last Jedi’s 67.5% drop, the second weekends for the other films fell between 39.8-50.3%. So even an average drop next week would mean an $118 million weekend for Infinity War against three films (Tully, Overboard, Bad Samaritan) all scheduled for launches in fewer than 2000 theaters. Its third weekend challengers will be Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party and Gabrielle Union in Breaking In. Anything less than $500 million by the time Deadpool 2 takes over would be a shock. Add in a late boost by Memorial Day weekend and anything less than $600 million overall at this point would be a stunner.
Black Panther did not just survive for an 11th straight week in the Top Ten, it jumped back into the Top Five. Seeing as it is likely to spend at least two more weeks on the list — marking the first film to achieve 13 consecutive weeks in the Top Ten since La La Land and Zootopia — there is a legitimate chance that it passes the $700 million mark domestically at the box office. Its $1.33 billion worldwide remains 10th all-time and will pass The Last Jedi this week and, likely, Harry Potter 7.2, though Infinity War is likely to leapfrog it even if it falls short of its domestic total. The new Avengers film is at $630 million worldwide already.
Last week it was in the fresh surprise category. This week Super Troopers 2 justly moved into the Rotten Returns section. Not because the film is not a success — at $21.7 million it is the highest-grossing Broken Lizard film ever. But on a $13.5 million production budget (higher than the $4.4 million it crowdfunded) this was not the drop it was looking for. The 76.3% fall puts Super Troopers 2 on the all-time drop list for films opening in over 2,000 theaters. It joins Collide (-88.5%), Gigli (-81.9%), 2009’s Friday the 13th (-80.4%), All Eyez On Me (-78.0%), From Justin to Kelly (-77.0%), and Star Trek: Nemesis (-76.2%). Yikes! Collide suffered when it was pulled from over half its theaters after its first week, so even that number is a little skewed. At this rate though, Super Troopers 2 could disappear from the Top Ten entirely by next weekend.
Bleecker Street opened the Rachel Weisz/Rachel McAdams drama, Disobedience, in just five theaters and it made a healthy $200,000. That is better than the studio’s previous five-theater gambits, Eye in the Sky ($113,803), Denial (also with Weisz) ($93,728) , Trumbo ($74,177) and Danny Collins ($72.459). Each of those films went on to semi-wide releases. Bleecker Street also maintains a remarkable track record with critics: Only two of their 22 releases (The Last Word and Just Getting Started) failed to rate over 60% at Rotten Tomatoes. Their upcoming releases, On Chesil Beach (63%) and Leave No Trace (95%), currently maintain that streak. Disobedience’s $48,255 per-theater-average was second only to Infinity War’s $55,878. (The Force Awakens’ PTA was $59,982.) IFC’s Let the Sunshine In with Juliette Binoche was third with a $20,134 PTA.
The Fate of the Furious held firm at #1 for a third straight weekend. But it was the duo of How to Be a Latin Lover (from Eugenio Derbez, the upcoming star of the Overboard remake) and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion that bested the Emma Watson/Tom Hanks adaptation of The Circle, which managed just $9 million and a 16% Tomatometer score.
Pantelion’s gender-reversed remake of Garry Marshall’s Overboard with Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris taking over the roles of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, respectively, opens in around 1,500 theaters. Derbez’s How to Be a Latin Lover opened to $12.2 million in just 1,202 theaters last April, so it could be looking at a decent total, high enough to grab the #2 slot. Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody’s Tully with Charlize Theron gets launched in around 1,200 theaters, and if Focus handles the expansion right, it could turn it into the kind of adult counterprogramming in May that Jon Favreau’s Chef was in 2014. Finally there is Dean Devlin’s thriller, Bad Samaritan, which will have the widest launch of the week in 1,800 theaters. It will be the second attempt from Electric Entertainment at a wide release. Their last was LBJ in 2017 which grossed just $2.4 million in 659 theaters. Expect Overboard and Tully to draw more interest while everyone awaits the over/under on $125 million for Infinity War next weekend.
1. Avengers: Infinity War – $250 million ($250 million total)
2. A Quiet Place – $10.6 million ($148.1 million total)
3. I Feel Pretty – $8.1 million ($29.5 million total)
4. Rampage – $7.1 million ($77.9 million total)
5. Black Panther – $4.3 million ($688 million total)
6. Super Troopers 2 – $3.6 million ($22 million total)
7. Truth or Dare – $3.2 million ($35.3 million total)
8. Blockers – $2.9 million ($53.2 million total)
9. Ready Player One – $2.4 million ($130.6 million total)
10. Traffik – $1.6 million ($6.7 million total)
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]