It didn't break the opening day record, but The Avengers still got off to one of the best starts ever on Friday. The movie earned $80.5 million, which is the second-highest opening day ever behind last Summer's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($91.1 million). More impressively, when you take midnight grosses out The Avengers scored $61.8 million during the day on Friday, which obliterates Spider-Man 3's previous record of $49.8 million.
Since midnight grosses were only a small part of The Avengers' tally on Friday, it's unlikely that demand is even close to satisfied at this point. Using past summer kick-off comic book movies as a comparison, The Avengers has a legitimate shot at reaching $200 million this weekend. Even if it doesn't get quite that high, it is practically a mathematical certainty that The Avengers winds up setting a new opening weekend record ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2's $169.2 million.
The Avengers accounted for over 80 percent of ticket sales on Friday, but there were other movies in the market as well. Think Like a Man fell 51 percent to an estimated $2.68 million, which was good for second place. The movie has now earned $67.7 million through 15 days in theaters.
The Lucky One dropped 60 percent to $1.95 million, and has so far grossed $44.4 million. The Avengers took 778 of The Hunger Games's theaters, and so the blockbuster was off 46 percent to $1.62 million. Still, it's now made $376.6 million, and will pass $380 million by the end of the weekend.
Last weekend's new releases all suffered mightily against The Avengers. The Five-Year Engagement dropped 51 percent to an estimated $1.7 million, and ranked fourth above The Hunger Games. The Pirates! Band of Misfits plummeted 52 percent to $1.32 million, which is a very steep drop for an animated movie. The Raven and Safe fell 67 percent and 69 percent to $844,000 and $825,000, respectively.
While The Avengers was the only new nationwide release, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel earned a very solid $197,000 from 27 locations. That translates to a per-theater average of $7,296, and the comedy should net well over $500,000 by the end of the weekend.