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Weekend Report: 'Captain America' Rockets to the Top, 'Potter's Bubble Bursts

by Brandon Gray
Captain America: The First Avenger
 

 
July 25, 2011

It was a dollar-spangled debut for Captain America: The First Avenger. Despite being the last to strike, the most famous superhero of Summer 2011's comic-book onslaught delivered the best opening attendance of the bunch, while Harry Potter's last stand fell prey to the adage, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."

Captain America made $65.1 million on approximately 7,100 screens at 3,715 locations, which was just shy of fellow Avenger Thor's $65.7 million but more than Green Lantern's $53.2 million and X-Men: First Class's $55.1 million. While the gross difference was a sliver, Captain had eight percent greater estimated attendance than Thor, which received more bolstering from 3D (and had IMAX): Captain's 3D share was 40 percent at 2,511 3D locations, compared to Thor's 60 percent at 2,737.

In terms of estimated attendance, Captain America's first weekend was on par with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Watchmen, but, among past July Marvel Comics kick-offs, it trailed Fantastic Four and X-Men by sizable margins. Distributor Paramount Pictures' exit polling indicated that 64 percent of Captain's crowd was male (about the same as Thor) and 58 percent was 25 years of age and older (skewing younger than Thor's 72 percent).

As moviegoers rallied 'round Captain America, they fled from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The wizard wunderkind mustered $47.4 million, but its 72 percent fall was far more severe than past opening weekend record breakers The Dark Knight (53 percent), Spider-Man 3 (62 percent) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (54 percent) and was the worst yet for a Harry Potter movie. However, that spoke more to the fan frenzy of Deathly Hallows Part 2's opening day than to the fans' reaction to the movie: sift out its record midnight launch, and its drop would be 62 percent, or the same as the last July Potter, Half-Blood Prince, in its second weekend.

With a whopping $273.5 million tally in ten days, Deathly Hallows Part 2 was still the fastest-grossing Potter yet, topping Deathly Hallows Part I's $219.1 million ten-day run. In fact, Deathly Hallows Part 2 posted the second highest-grossing ten-day opening ever, behind The Dark Knight's $313.8 million, and it ranked 15th in estimated attendance. Already the second highest-grossing movie of 2011, Deathly Hallows Part 2 will surpass the first Potter's $317.6 million to become the top-grossing entry in the series (though not the best-attended).

Meanwhile, Friends with Benefits got off to an $18.6 million start on around 3,500 screens at 2,926 locations. That was a tad less than fellow "friends-with-benefits" sex comedy No Strings Attached's $19.7 million back in January. Distributor Sony Pictures' research showed that 62 percent of Friends's audience was female (compared to 70 percent for No Strings) and 56 percent was age 25 years and older (versus 60 percent for No Strings).

Transformers: Dark of the Moon had a nearly identical fourth-weekend percentage drop as its predeccesors, slowing 44 percent to $12.1 million. With a $325.8 million total in 26 days, it's half-way between its predecessors at the same point (though it lags both in attendance). Right on the robo-threequel's heels, Horrible Bosses rounded out the Top Five with $11.9 million, off 33 percent for a Bad Teacher-outpacing $82.6 million sum in 17 days.

Related Stories:
Forecast: 'Captain America' Could Top the Mighty 'Potter'
Around-the-World Roundup: 'Potter' Still Magic Overseas

Last Weekend:
'Harry' Makes History

This Timeframe in Past Years:
2010 - 'Inception' Maintains Grip, 'Salt' Savors Second Place
2009 - 'G-Force' Takes Cake, 'Potter' Plummets
2008 - 'Dark Knight' Massive in Second Weekend
2007 - 'Simpsons' Leap to Big-Screen Success
2006 - 'Pirates' Loot Piles Up, 'Lady' Walks Plank
2005 - 'Island' Deserted, 'Chocolate,' 'Wedding' Take Cake

Related Charts:
Weekend Box Office Results
All-Time 10-Day Openings
All-Time July Opening Weekends
All-Time 2nd Weekend Grosses
All-Time 2nd Weekend Drops
Showdown: 'Captain America' Vs. 'Thor'
Showdown: 'Harry Potter' Vs. 'Dark Knight'
Showdown: 'Harry Potter' Vs. 'Twilight'



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