We know “The Avengers” is going to be huge and we know ”The Hunger Games” is already huge. Both movies hit big milestones over the weekend, so let’s discuss that.
First, “The Avengers.” The movie opens stateside this weekend, but Disney decided to release it overseas a week before we see it in the U.S. The numbers are astonishing: $178.4 million earned in 39 countries. And it hasn’t even opened in Russia, China or Japan, which makes that opening even crazier.
The Marvel movies are typically very strong overseas. Only two of their movies — the first “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk,” both released in 2008 — earned more than half of their worldwide grosses in North America. The other four movies — “Iron Man 2″ ($311 million abroad), “Thor” ($268 million) and “Captain America” ($192 million) — have been very, very huge outside of the U.S., earning more internationally than they did domestically. It looks like “The Avengers” will earn at least twice as much in foreign box office as “Iron Man 2″ made two years ago. And this movie’s domestic box office gross could wind up topping $375 or $400 million dollars. So we might have an actual competition here between this and “The Dark Knight Rises” as the summer movie to beat*.
“The Hunger Games,” meanwhile, is still raking it in all over the place. The movie’s worldwide gross topped $600 million this weekend. Domestically, it earned $11.2 million dollars this past weekend — dipping a meager 23 percent from last weekend, its smallest drop so far. That puts it at $372 million domestically, which makes it No. 17 on the all-time domestic box office chart (without adjusting for inflation). It should crack the top 15 by Saturday, and still looks likely to finish with between $390 and $400 million domestically. Overseas, it has earned $228 million.
There’s also “Battleship” — the movie “Battleship,” based on the board game Battleship, only with aliens this time — which has earned a very impressive $170 million overseas thus far. “Battleship”!
* FWIW: “The Dark Knight” is far and away the biggest superhero movie in box office history. It topped $1 billion worldwide, while its closest competitor — the reviled “Spider-Man 3″ — made $890 million. Yes, if “Spider-Man 3″ was actually decent it could have finished with a bigger gross, but it wasn’t and it didn’t and that’s not the point. The point here: “The Dark Knight” only made that much because it was such a phenomenon stateside, earning 53 percent of its overall haul here at home. It’s the only film among the 30 biggest worldwide hits with more than half of its grosses coming from domestic box office. The $468 million that “The Dark Knight” earned abroad is very good, clearly, but it falls behind the $554 million “Spider-Man 3″ made overseas the year before.
This summer’s biggest performers are likely to be — in order of release date — “The Avengers,” “Men in Black 3,” “Brave,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and “The Dark Knight Rises”; all of which could easily top $600 million worldwide. (I know, I know: “Ice Age 4.” But the third film in that series made an appalling $690 million overseas, earning more than 77 percent of its worldwide gross overseas — the biggest overseas-to-U.S. ratio among any movie on the top 100 all-time worldwide box office list.) “The Dark Knight Rises” will likely earn more overseas than its predecessor did, but less domestically, which would still put it on pace for a box office haul north of $900 million. That’s very good, clearly. It just might not be good enough to catch “The Avengers,” which is looking like a billion-dollar film right now.