"Avengers" muscles to record $200 million in debut

Sun May 6, 2012 1:01pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Avengers" proved that five superheroes are better than one by bursting into Hollywood's record books with a massive $200.3 million in ticket sales over its opening weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, kicking off Hollywood's summer movie season with a bang.

The domestic debut for the big-budget, effects-filled movie from Disney's Marvel studios sped past last summer's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 2," which opened with $169.2 million in its first weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. In March, "The Hunger Games" opened with $152.5 million, the fourth largest opening in box office history.

"The Avengers," which reunites Marvel comic heroes Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Black Widow, has collected $641.8 million since it opened in international markets on April 25.

"We keep thinking we have a sense of what this movie can do, or will do, and every time we get a report it does even better," said Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice-president of distribution. "This is very satisfying, to say the least."

Disney's aggressive marketing, which included promotions aimed at women that included sending stars to "The View" daytime talk show, resulted in women making up 40 percent of the audience for the action film, according to Disney's survey. Half the audience was also over 25 years of age, the studio also said.

Winner of the past two weekends, Sony's romantic comedy "Think Like a Man," slipped to second place with $8 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters, according to Hollywood.com.

"Hunger Games," from Lions Gate Entertainment, took the No. 3 spot in its seventh week in theaters, with $5.7 million, and has collected $380.7 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters during its run.

Warner Brothers' "The Lucky One" landed in fourth place with $5.5 million, and the animated film "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" from Sony finished in fifth place with $5.4 million.   Continued...

Robert Downey Jr. arrives at the screening of the film "Marvel's The Avengers" for the closing night of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly