Five Movies that Could Break The Avenger’s Opening Weekend Record

Unless you’ve been living in a cave this week, you’ve probably already seen The Avengers. Even if you were living in a cave, it was still probably showing The Avengers inside. How else does a movie get to $207M in box office receipts?

It’s a record setting total that nearly everyone thought impossible, but now thoughts turn to the future and what the NEXT film could be to surpass that figure. There are only a handful of franchises that even have a prayer of coming close, and I’ve picked five films I believe could top it upon release.

As you may realize when you view the list, the films start from the most realistic possibilities, and slowly regress to completely fictional movies that will never exist. But if they did? You can bet they’d dethrone the reigning champ.

The Dark Knight Rises

This would be the most obvious and plausible choice of all, and it could happen in just a few short months time. Of course most will know that The Dark Knight Rises set the record at $158M during its first weekend of release. But will the final film in the trilogy be able to top it?

I’m not so sure, despite it being the most likely contender to take the throne. Why? Though TDKR is HUGELY anticipated, there’s no real “Joker factor.” By that I mean both Ledger’s amazing performance, glimpsed with much anticipation in the previews, compounded by the fact that he was actually DEAD by the time everyone was watching the film. You don’t get any more intense than that; it’s practically mythological.

There’s just no similar hype for Bane as the villain here. The only time he’s really discussed is when people wonder what Tom Hardy’s workout regimen was or if they’re complaining about not being able to understand his voice in the trailers.

I think this will do VERY well, but I don’t know if TDKR will be record setting. I’m not even convinced it will match the The Dark Knight’s tally, but we’ll have to see.

Avatar 2

With Avatar 2 we’re still in the category of movies that have actually been announced, and it will be the last one of that type in this list. After all the bundles of money the first film made, people forget that its opening weekend it made relatively little, only $77M domestically. No one knew what the hell these blue aliens were all about, and as such, it took some time for audiences to get onboard.

But now with $2.7 BILLION in ticket sales, a significant portion of Earth now knows who the Na’vi are. As such, when the sequel finally does come out, it will have a chance to put up Avengers-caliber numbers opening weekend. Not to say it will, but it could.

And of course there’s the added benefit of 3D, which is something I failed to mention that The Dark Knight lacks. Though 3D ticket sales have dropped pretty significantly in recent year, Avatar proved the format was valid at least some of the time, and I think many people would spring for it when the sequel came around, as the technology will have only improved even more by then.


This movie was on deck a long while back, but DC lacks the kind of cohesive movie plan that Marvel set up for the better part of a decade. Could you really see Nolan’s Batman teaming up with Brandon Routh’s Superman and Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern? The three film series have nothing at all in common, and with Wonder Woman and Flash movies still miles away, we won’t see the JLA for seven or eight years in my estimation, if ever.

But when we do? Man, that could be huge. Batman and Superman alone are franchises that pull big bucks, and if they could set up the compilation film in a package that was as appealing as The Avengers, they could have something as equally as massive on their hands.

That said, it just doesn’t seem like DC has a handle on how to do this yet. They have a textbook example before them from Marvel, but with Green Lantern a failure, Nolan’s Batman it’s own dark masterpiece and the verdict out on Superman’s new movie, I see this film struggling to even exist, much less unseat The Avengers.

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  1. I would NEVER see your proposed Harry Potter/Twilight movie, and I think plenty of others would agree. Good try though.
    Dark Knight Rises also has the grim tone going against it. I know in my family, EVERYONE went and saw The Avengers but I’m guessing only the men will see TDKR. The avengers seemed more family friendly is basically what I’m getting at. Where TDKR looks straight up menacing, which I think will keep a lot of parents from taking their kids, at least until after they see it.

  2. I just don’t see a JLA movie ever happening.

    First, the DC Universe is so much less cohesive than the Marvelverse that a tie-in strategy like the buildup to the Avengers doesn’t seem possible because there is very little overlap.

    Second, whereas Batman and Superman are probably the 2 most bankable titles in comics, DC doesn’t really have anything behind that. Lantern had a chance and it failed. Wonder Woman has a chance, but Aquaman? Flash? And if even one of those movies bombs, the whole roll-up to the team movie is doomed. Nevermind that you’d have to re-boot Batman to make it more thematically consistent with the others, which leads me to my final point.

    Batman and Superman are designed to be polar opposites. A dark vigilante and a beacon of light. While, on paper, this symmetry might provide interesting subtext to the plot, their characters affect the nature of their entire world. What made Nolan’s Batman so successful was the bleakness of the world that Batman lived in. Compared to the bright, shiny Metropolis that Superman is in. If you take away the context of the worlds these heros live in, it detracts from the meaning of their character.

  3. Dude, ticket prices in 1999 were anywhere from a 50 to 66%+ lower than they are today, and that’s just the base ticket cost without the additional options of IMaxs and 3D showings we’ve got today and massively more theaters to actually show them in.

    Released in comparable circumstances as Avengers released and it brings in $160 mill minimum, if not more than Avengers did.

  4. Yeah, we’d be a ways away from an actual JLA movie (in fact, a JSA movie would probably have more traction at this point), but what they COULD do in the interim is take the new Superman and the rebooted Batman (which apparently is the plan post-Nolan) and make a “World’s Finest” movie. Then they could build to a JLA movie from there.

    Despite the Green Lantern failure I don’t think WB is done with DC heroes yet. A Wally West Flash, or Martian Manhunter movie could be done really well.

  5. Most of the demographic that see the Harry Potter films are the same demographic that see the Twilight films. Plus, your male audience fans of the Harry Potter series would be turned off by the addition of the Twilight element. I actually see that film grossing less than or just as much as the newest Twilight movie.

    At least from a marketing point of view, the elements that would make the perfect storm of B.O. success are (and this has failed, so it’s not a surefire thing):

    -Sequel to a already successful franchise
    -Franchise rooted in previously existing material
    -Director who’s name alone draws box office (Spielberg, Cameron, Nolan)
    -Stars that draw B.O. (Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Tom Hanks)

    So if budget were not an issue, I’d say the highest grossing movie would be a comic book movie sequel directed by Spielberg starring Tom Cruise and Will Smith (or some other such stars – having a black actor star helps pull in that additional demographic though)

  6. here’s an idea that just popped in my head about how they can do a JLA film…

    1. Start with a Flash origin story. You know the drill. Hopefully it has the Iron Man treatment and is great and entertaining in and of itself.
    Now, halfway through the movie you can have someone looking into Flash (he’s going to be our Nick Fury)…at the end, after the hoopla is over and the enemy defeated, the man reveals himself as who he is (Martian Manhunter is the ideal hero for this, him being able to shapeshift of sorts to look human can easily blend in through out the film)…he can say that he took an interest in him after he turned into Flash and another of them told him to look out for him (if I recall correctly Barry Allen [the first Flash] is/was good friends with Hal Jordan, Martian can explain how he met Hal in space or something and can also explain his absence in the film, him being with the Green Lantern Corps saving a planet or something, which can open the door to have one of the other Green Lanterns [Kyle Radner, John Stewart] in the JLA avoiding the Ryan Reynolds connection to the series)
    Martian can recruit Flash to help him recruit someone in this island off the coast of Africa…

    2. Cue in Flash 2…Barry, the scientist, is in Africa doing some research or something…soo Gorilla Grodd can be the enemy…you can throw in casually Green Arrow to help him fight (also to note that Green Arrow and GL shared a comic, they can also play that out as another recruit Hal Jordan recommended)..
    The final act can have them finally go up to the island and meeting Wonder Woman…throw in an arena fight with her to establish her and have Martian fly in at the end to meet up with all 3 members and announce another recruit (maybe say Superman but ambigously obvious like “from another planet that made Earth home, like me” or something like that…and maybe tease Kyle (I’m going with him for GL) trying to get a “detective” to join..

    3. Make the JLA movie!, go the Hawkeye route and have them full fledged in the reunion instead of individual films, not even a cameo…Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are already established and well known, other than WW we’ve seen enough Batman and Superman to do indidvidual films just to make this one (and I’m not counting on the upcoming Sups film to link up to JLA)

    It’s not the best idea, but something can work out of all of this…and for the ones that stuck ’til the end, thanks for reading 😛

  7. “The Hobbit” surely has a decent chance. The studio has kept a relatively low profile with it, but I imagine the hype will be massive once the marketing machine kicks into full swing in the fall.

    Beyond that, I think your example of the dollar amount made by “The Phantom Menace” in 1999 versus what movies make in 2012 is a perfect example of why it doesn’t make any sense to judge the success of a movie based on dollar amounts. Ticket prices are constantly increasing, many movies are released in multiple formats at various ticket prices, there is an ever-increasing number of theaters and screens available… and on and on.
    Take a look at the Top 200 domestic grosses/adjusted for inflation list on Box Office Mojo. “Gone With the Wind” is still $200 million in the lead over the #2, and “Avatar” doesn’t register until #14, “The Dark Knight” at #28. When you start to factor in which movies have been released into theaters multiple times, things become even more complicated. (Not to mention thinking about how much money “GWtW” would have made had there been as many theaters in the U.S. in 1939 as there are now… or people for that matter…)
    The point is, it makes no sense to judge a movie’s success by a standard as slippery as gross money made. No other media judges success this way. The success of music is based on number of copies sold, regardless of the price of those copies. Likewise, books are judged by copies in print– and, increasingly, with the advent of eBooks, by simple number of copies sold. By the same measure, movies should be judged by number of tickets sold. Plain and simple, how many people gave up any amount of their hard-earned cash in exchange for the opportunity to view your film? There will always be some mitigating factors that make it hard to compare results from one era with another, but ticket sales (and not gross) would be a far more relevant comparison.

  8. The only film that George Lucas could ever consider to make would have to be The Force Unleashed story. I say this because it is (A) a Sith story (what the fans want), (B) a story that connects the original trilogy to the prequel trilogy, (C) story of the birth of the Rebel Alliance, (D) A DARTH VADER STORY (nuff said). The Apprentice story has all of this and a possibility for sequels as well as a stand alone story. And lets face it who doesn’t want to see Sam Witwer take the role of the Apprentice of Darth Vader while kicking Jedi Sith and Monster Ass everywhere he goes.

  9. Comparing Gone with the Wind to the Avengers based on sales prices makes sense, except you also have to factor in how many other movies existed at the times as well as pirating, and other forms of entertainment.

    My nephew has watched Avengers 3 times already, and he hasn’t gone to theater once. People saw Gone with the wind multiple times, because there weren’t many other films in theaters (if any choice at all) and there weren’t nearly as many forms of entertainment to draw attention away from that film.

  10. You forgot to mention the NEXT AVENGERS MOVIE. Marvel will re use the same process, and build up to an even more dire avengers movie. AND if the Hulk co stars in Ironman 3, like the rumors and last few scenes of avengers suggest, Id pay handsomely to see that buddy comedy. And JLA is too ambitious for DC, a Batman/Superman movie is more realistic, imo.

  11. Yeah totally neglecting the Hobbit and making up movies? what a bunch of speculative bullshit. Sure we all want a new star wars trilogy to make up for the crap Lucas has already put his fans through and I do believe that will eventually happen but not for a looooooong time. Avatar can suck it’s own blue balls and I could give a crap about that franchise. A justice league movie will never be what the Avengers is and will be. Marvel productions actually knows what they are doing and as for Warner eehhh they are still in pampers as far as playing with the big kids goes.

    Make mine Marvel 😛

  12. a sequel to avater? my god why. it was one of the worst, unoriginal and boring movies ever made. the only poeple who liked it are drunken frat boys with no taste and people who go”woho 3D”.

  13. Javier – that’s not a bad idea, if such a thing ever comes to pass. Though Barry Allen was the SECOND Flash. Sadly, Ryan Reynolds would have been a MUCH better fit as a Flash than a GL. If they had been smart and cast Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, it’d be a whole different ballgame.

  14. What about Amazing Spider-Man. I have friends who are DC fanatics and they admit Batman isn’t that Appealing. Yet they’re extremley excited for the new, with less emo, funnier Amazing Spider-Man.

  15. “Interestingly enough however, The Phantom Menace only made $64M its opening weekend. I know reviews weren’t amazing, but that seems abnormally low when it’s a FREAKING NEW STAR WARS MOVIE and films like The Hangover open with $86M. Perhaps I’ve overestimated the appeal.”

    It was 13 years ago. The Phantom Menace broke records for the largest single-day gross with more than $28 million in the opening day, and fastest to $100 million gross in five days. It also became the fastest movie to reach the $200 million and $300 million mark, surpassing Independence Day and Titanic, respectively.

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