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There was a lot riding on the box office of Thor: The Dark World, namely that Marvel/Disney spent something like $300 million to make and market the movie, and it serves as a more realistic gauge for what the “Avengers bounce” is really going to be. Nothing in the Marvel universe is close to what Iron Man is, as a franchise, except for the Avengers movies themselves. Also, the employee bonuses were dependent on a $100 million opening weekend, so a lot of people were watching the estimates roll in over the weekend, crossing their fingers for big business.
Well, Thor 2 did big business, just not Big Business. The weekend tally came in at $86.1 million, which is more in line with the $90 million I predicted than Disney’s soft $75 million prediction. But it’s a far cry from the $100 million the employees needed. I can’t stress enough how sh*tty it is to tie bonuses to a number the executives never really expected to earn. IT’S SUPER SH*TTY.
So, what does this mean for Marvel and the Avengers going forward? First and foremost, it means that Iron Man is the outlier. They can’t expect those huge numbers from any other character in the canon…yet. (Guardians of the Galaxy has a lot of potential). In 2011, Thor and Captain America performed very similarly, and there’s no reason, right now, to think that the second entries won’t do the same. Based on Thor 2, expectations for Captain America: The Winter Soldier ought to be in the same $90 million range on opening weekend. It looks like the Avengers bounce is going to be about one-third (Iron Man 3 was also roughly one-third up from Iron Man 2).
Overall though, it was a good weekend for Marvel. Not earth-shattering, especially in the wake of the back-to-back bonanza of The Avengers and Iron Man 3, but they’ve got proof now that this multi-franchise experiment is sustainable. As for Thor and Loki, they have no competition next weekend, and an A- Cinemascore suggests it will hold well in its second week. Which they need as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is going to bring everything else to a screeching halt on November 22. The projection on that one? $160 million. Easy.