'Avengers' rings up $103 million in record weekend

Sun May 13, 2012 2:34pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Avengers," the smash hit movie about Marvel superheroes who team up to save the Earth, crushed competitors for a second weekend with a record $103.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales and was poised to top $1 billion worldwide, studio estimates showed on Sunday.

After posting the highest domestic box office debut in history last weekend, "Avengers" set another record by easily topping the $75.6 million "Avatar" pulled in during its second weekend in 2009, making "Avengers" the first movie to exceed $100 million in its second weekend.

"Avengers" has now racked up a staggering $628.9 million internationally since opening overseas on April 25, distributor Walt Disney Co said, positioning it to break the $1 billion threshold after just 19 days.

"We're obviously thrilled," said Robert Iger, Disney's Chairman and CEO in a statement.

"You can never anticipate this kind of success," echoed Dave Hollis, executive vice president for motion picture distribution. "It's a staggering result."

Its success owed in large part to "a story that delivers on every level, to every segment of the audience," he added.

The big-budget 3D flick - the first of Hollywood's lucrative summer season - unites Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America and other Marvel comic book heroes in a fight against a villain determined to destroy the planet. Disney announced this week it is planning an "Avengers" sequel.

The movie took in $207.4 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters over its opening weekend, helping improve the performance of the studio, which earlier stumbled at box offices with its big-budget release "John Carter."

"Avengers" mania overwhelmed new horror comedy "Dark Shadows," according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. "Dark Shadows" pulled in an estimated $28.8 million from Friday through Sunday at domestic theaters.   Continued...

Actor Mark Ruffalo 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