Marvel/Disney Enterprises

The Avengers can't miss.

It's got fantastic buzz. It's enjoyed a fast start around the world. It's got more than 4,000 theaters ready to roll its credits (finally) for its hungry hometown fans.

What can possibly go wrong?

The one thing that can go wrong with all big movies: expectations, or rather, the failure to meet them.  

The teaming of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man with Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, Chris Hemsworths Thor, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Chris Evans' Captain America, Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye and Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is a fanboy event of epic proportions, and the lead-off movie of summer should perform accordingly.

Er, right?

BoxOffice.com, for one, is calling for The Avengers to blow out the lights, and best the opening-weekend record held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, with a $170 million Friday-Sunday.

But what if that doesn't happen?

What if the movie isn't the biggest thing ever? What if it isn't the biggest superhero thing ever? What if it isn't even the biggest thing this year?

The Avengers can still win the expectations game if it hits a big, fat round number like the one many think it will: $150 million.

No, that sized take won't top HP8, The Dark Knight ($158.4 million) or The Hunger Games ($152.5 million), but it will place the new film among Hollywood's elite top-five debuts.

But what if that doesn't happen? (And, by the by, industry analysts say the superhero-packed Avengers may lack for the female moviegoer, the sort of fan who's helped drive Potter, The Hunger Games and Twilight to mammoth midnight and opening-weekend starts.)

The Avengers can still save face, and make a bundle in the process by scoring $130 million-$140 million.

That gross would top Iron Man 2's opening, and make The Avengers the biggest Marvel superhero movie produced by Marvel Studios (an equation that does not include the Spider-Man series).

But what if that doesn't happen?

If The Avengers doesn't open bigger than Iron Man 2, then things'll get weird, and the expectations game will be shot. 

But what're the odds that'll happen? 


The Avengers, with its worldwide total of $260.5 million through Wednesday, with its international supremacy over The Hunger Games and all but one other 2012 release, can't miss.

Provided it doesn't blow it.

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