"The Avengers" sucked the life out of "Dark Shadows" at the box office this weekend, as the superhero blockbuster dominated ticket sales and left the vampire comedy looking pallid.
After its $207.4-million debut broke the record for the biggest opening ever — not adjusting for inflation — "The Avengers" had another phenomenal weekend in theaters. In its second weekend of domestic release, the film featuring Marvel comic book characters such as the Hulk, Iron Man and Thor raked in an additional $103.2 million, according to an estimate from distributor Walt Disney Pictures. That means the movie made more on its second weekend than any other film in history, a record previously held by the three-day $75.6 million made by "Avatar."
But "The Avengers" passed an even bigger milestone this weekend: It crossed the $1-billion mark at the global box office. Playing in 54 foreign countries this weekend, the movie grossed $95.4 million, raising its international total to $628.9 million. Combined with the film's $373.2-million domestic tally, the movie surpassed $1 billion after just 19 days in worldwide release.
With so many moviegoers still rushing out to see the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson trying to save the world, fellow A-lister Johnny Depp didn't get much love at the multiplex. The actor's "Dark Shadows," directed by Tim Burton, collected a lackluster $28.8 million upon its debut. Heading into the weekend, even distributor Warner Bros. thought the film would open with at least $35 million. Given that Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow co-financed the picture for close to $150 million, the movie's debut is especially disappointing.
The majority of those who saw the film this weekend — 55% — were over the age of 35, indicating that the movie appealed mostly to those familiar with the 1960s ABC soap opera upon which it was based. The film attracted a slightly more female crowd, as 57% of the audience was female. But moviegoers didn't respond very positively to the picture about an 18th century vampire transported to 1972, assigning it an average grade of B-, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
"Dark Shadows" marks the eighth partnership for Depp and Burton, who began collaborating on eccentric projects in 1990 with "Edward Scissorhands." To date, their biggest hit has been 2010's "Alice in Wonderland," which is one of the 12 films in the elite $1-billion club, a group including blockbusters such as "The Dark Knight," "Avatar" and "Titanic."
The pair have a pretty good track record at the box office, putting their quirky spin on classic tales such as "Alice" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." There are only a few titles that have failed to resonate with broad audiences, including 2007's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," which made only a moderate $52.9 million domestically.
But like most of Depp's films, "Sweeney Todd" performed better overseas than it did in the U.S., grossing $99.6 million internationally. That will likely be the case for "Dark Shadows," which debuted in 43 foreign countries this weekend.
Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co.'s attempt to capitalize on the Mother's Day crowd with its re-release of 2012's best picture winner "The Artist" didn't go over very well. Playing in 715 theaters, the movie grossed $161,000 this weekend, amounting to a dismal per-screen average of $214. The mostly silent black-and-white picture, originally released last November, has now grossed $44.4 million.
[Updated, 1:44 p.m. May 13: "Dark Shadows" grossed a so-so $36.7 million this weekend from 43 foreign countries, including France, Germany and Hong Kong. The movie performed best in Russia, where it collected $5.3 million, and has yet to open in major markets Japan and Brazil.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with international results when available, according to studio estimates and Rentrak: