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'The Avengers' Clears $200 Million, Shatters Opening Weekend Record

'The Avengers' Clears $200 Million, Shatters Opening Weekend Record

With an opening weekend intake above $200 million, Marvel's "The Avengers" now boasts the biggest opening weekend of all time, cruising past the $169 million that the final "Harry Potter" earned last fall. "The Avengers" has also been just as much of a hit outside of the U.S., as the Disney distribution was once again the top international box office draw, pushing its worldwide total to a spectacular $641 million worldwide already.

Though just about everyone knew that "The Avengers" was going to be big, it has still surpassed expectations. With a conglomeration of big names and popular superheroes, "The Avengers" was the perfect fit for the mainstream action-seeking demographic, making for long lines in theaters all over the world this weekend.

Unlike previous record holder "The Dark Knight," "The Avengers" also had the advantage of inflated 3D prices, helping pad its opening weekend figures and ensure that it would be the biggest opening in history. "The Avengers" even had the perfect release timing, as the only other action movie that had an impact at the box office was "The Hunger Games," which is holding on strong but is now entering its seventh week in theaters.

But even though "The Avengers" was guaranteed to be a box office smash hit ever since it started pre-production, very strong buzz helped take it to another level. "The Avengers" has enjoyed mostly rave reviews, and audience marks on IMDB.com make it one of the highest rated movies ever, with a rating high enough to rank it in the top 30 all-time on the popular web site.

The audience attraction also hasn't been limited to the U.S. either, as China, Mexico, the U.K. and others have all turned in big numbers already. With a worldwide intake shooting past $600 million in just a few days in theaters, "The Avengers" is just about a lock to cruise past $1 billion in worldwide revenue. If things continue to go well in the coming weekends, "The Avengers" should also shoot past the $1.33 billion hauled in by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" to make it the third highest grossing worldwide film ever.

After its prodigious start, Disney can now sit back and wait to see if "The Dark Knight Rises" has enough fan anticipation to give "The Avengers" a legitimate run at being the top earner of the summer. "The Dark Knight" was nothing short of a phenomenon when it hit theaters in 2008 and the marketing for "The Dark Knight Rises" will start to hit full-throttle in the coming weeks as buzz from "The Avengers" finally starts to fade.

But even with an enormous opening weekend, it will be tough for July release "The Dark Knight Rises" to match the $200 million that "The Avengers" pulled in this weekend. Long-term, "The Dark Knight Rises" should end up with similar overall figures, though "The Avengers" has enough fan buzz to cruise throughout the rest of May and put up some eye-popping overall figures. By the time it's out of theaters, "The Avengers" should end up behind "Titanic" and "Avatar" to become the third highest grossing movie in history both domestically and internationally.

Though there were no other wide releases this weekend, adult-geared comedy "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" put together a nice limited opening for Fox Searchlight that should translate to a strong expansion in the coming weekends. With a popular older cast including Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy, "Marigold Hotel" nearly squeezed into the top ten at just 27 total venues this weekend and has received mostly favorable reviews, helping its long-term outlook as it expands.

Next weekend, the summer release schedule continues with Tim Burton's latest film "Dark Shadows," starring Johnny Depp as an out-of-place vampire in the wrong century. Though "The Avengers" will still play a big part at the box office next weekend, "Dark Shadows" should still have plenty of appeal and has the potential to be one of the bigger hits of the early summer.

Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 5/4/12 - 5/6/12 (In Millions), [RTT Prediction]:

1. The Avengers (Disney): $200.30 [$172]

2. Think Like a Man (Sony/Screen Gems): $8 [$9.5]

3. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate): $5.70 [$6]

4. The Lucky One (Warner Brothers): $5.51 [$5.7]

5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Sony/Columbia): $5.40 [$5.2]

6. The Five-Year Engagement (Universal): $5.10 [$5.5]

7. The Raven (Relativity): $2.51 [$3.7]

8. Safe (Lionsgate): $2.47 [$3.8]

9. Chimpanzee (Disney): $2.40 [$2.7]

10. The Three Stooges (Fox): $1.80 [$2.5]

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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