Weekend Report: 'Avengers' Shatters More Records, 'Shadows' Mostly Sucks
With Dark Shadows providing little in the way of competition, The Avengers had no trouble at all extending its stranglehold on the box office this weekend. Marvel's superhero team-up fell 50 percent to $103.1 million, which is by-far the best second weekend ever ahead of Avatar's $75.6 million. It also topped The Dark Knight for best second weekend hold for a movie that opened to more than $120 million. Other new records include fastest movie to $300 million and $350 million, and highest eight-day, nine-day, and ten-day grosses.

Through Sunday, The Avengers has earned $373.1 million, which ranks 18th on the all-time domestic chart. It's now inevitable that the movie will finish above $500 million, and it should also claim third place on the all-time chart ahead of The Dark Knight ($533.3 million).

As expected, Dark Shadows couldn't hold a candle to The Avengers, though its $29.7 million opening is still a bit of a disappointment. Among recent Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaborations, that's a tiny fraction of Alice in Wonderland's $116.1 million and around half of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's $56.2 million. Those were both colorful, fun, recognizable properties, and Dark Shadows is much closer to Sweeney Todd and Sleepy Hollow. It significantly out-grossed Sweeney Todd ($9.3 million at 1,249 locations) but was a bit off from Sleepy Hollow ($30.1 million).

Dark Shadows's underwhelming debut can be attributed to a handful of factors, not least of which was the tough release date. The second weekend of May is a notoriously difficult time to open a movie, as Warner Bros. experienced with Poseidon in 2006 ($22.2 million) and Speed Racer in 2008 ($18.6 million). The challenge was magnified this year thanks to The Avengers, which is outperforming even the most bullish pre-release forecasts.

It doesn't help that vampires who don't sparkle (read: aren't in the Twilight franchise) don't tend to be overly successful at the box office, and the Dark Shadows soap opera upon which the movie is based isn't nearly as popular as other TV source material. Perhaps more importantly, though, this mediocre opening seems to suggest that Johnny Depp may be losing some of his mojo thanks to disappointing recent movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Tourist. Because of this, a movie can't be sold on Depp alone, and the fish-out-of-water comedy and outlandish sex scenes portrayed in the movie's marketing weren't enough to seal the deal for most people.

IMAX presentations only contributed an estimated $1.15 million, which is likely a result of splitting showtimes with The Avengers. According to distributor Warner Bros. Pictures, the audience was 57 percent female and 73 percent over the age of 25. They awarded the movie a poor "B-" CinemaScore, and with three new nationwide releases coming up next weekend there's little chance that Dark Shadows holds up well in the long-run.

In its fourth weekend, Think Like a Man eased 28 percent to $5.8 million. So far, the ensemble romantic comedy has earned a very strong $81.4 million.

The Hunger Games took fourth place with $4.5 million, which is off just 21 percent from last weekend. The blockbuster has so far grossed $387 million, and will yield 2012's top spot in the next few days to The Avengers.

The Lucky One rounded out the Top Five with $4.1 million (a light 24 percent decline). The movie has now made $53.8 million.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel expanded to 178 locations and added $2.67 million this weekend. That was good for eighth place on the weekend chart, and the Fox Searchlight geriatric comedy has now earned $3.74 million.

Girl in Progress, the latest release from Lionsgate/Pantelion, opened in 11th place with $1.38 million from 322 locations. The movie received a "B+" CinemaScore, and the audience was 70 percent female and 57 percent over the age of 25.

The Artist received one final push from The Weinstein Company this weekend, though it didn't really take advantage. The Oscar winner expanded to 751 locations but made just $188,841, which translates to an awful $251 per-theater average. The Artist has now earned $44.44 million, and is unlikely to make much more before the end of its run.

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Last Weekend

'Avengers' Smashes Records

This Weekend in Past Years:

• 2011 - 'Thor' Holds on to Throne, 'Bridesmaids' a Strong Second
• 2010 - 'Iron Man 2' Buckles But Still Burns, 'Robin Hood' More Merry Than Medieval

• 2009 - 'Star Trek' Prospers

• 2008 - 'Iron Man' Builds, 'Speed Racer' Burns

• 2007 - 'Spider-Man 3' Unravels But Rules

• 2006 - 'Poseidon' Capsizes, Cruise Clings to Top Spot

• 2005 - 'Monster-in-Law' Claws to the Top

Related Charts

Weekend Box Office Results

All-Time Domestic

• All-Time Second Weekends

• All-Time Fastest to $300 Million

• All-Time Fastest to $350 Million