Walt Disney Pictures is reporting an opening day of $80.5 million for Marvel’s The Avengers in 4,349 theaters nationwide, building upon the $18.7 million from midnight screenings the night before. If this number sticks, it will be the second-biggest opening day for a movie ever, following behind the $91 million grossed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 its opening day last summer.
In our report yesterday on the movie’s midnight grosses, it didn’t seem like The Avengers was going to be setting any records other than May opening, because it earned less at midnight than last month’s The Hunger Games, but what a difference a full day makes. The extraordinary business the movie brought in Friday is a strong indicator that the movie may indeed break the current opening weekend held by “Deathly Hallows.” In fact, we could now see the movie opening somewhere between $170 and 180 million, which would completely demolish the $169 million made by the current record holder.
We certainly know better than to “count our chickens” and breaking that record will mainly depend on whether that Friday business holds up through Saturday and Sunday–the film’s rare A+ CinemaScore is a good sign it will have legs. Either way, Marvel Studios’ first movie distributed and marketed through Walt Disney is already looking to be the biggest movie released by either, and this puts even more pressure on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and its release later this summer.
Internationally, the movie added another $30 million yesterday, having also opened in Russia and China, and globally, the movie has grossed $415 million, which means that it may have already made back its reported $220 million production budget.