Box Office: ‘The Avengers’ staggering $200.3 million sets all-time opening record

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” had a fine run at the top of the all-time box office chart, but it’s inevitably come to an end.  Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” broke the record with a staggering $200.3 million debut this past weekend. That figure crushes “Harry Potter’s” three-day cume of $169.1 million achieved just last July. Comparatively, “The Hunger Games” debuted with $152 million in March which, at the time, was the third largest opening in history.

Obviously, “The Avengers” should be a major force for at least the next two months at the multiplex.  The Marvel Studios release that finally brought heroes Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye together on the big screen scored a rare A+ Cinemascore rating from moviegoers. The film also scored a 69 on Metacritic from major critics and a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s biggest challenge this year will come from “The Dark Knight Rises.”  The third installment in Nolan’s Batman franchise follows 2008’s “The Dark Knight” which at one time held the all-time opening record with $152.5 million (with no inflated 3D prices) until “Harry Potter” topped it last summer. Still, for Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company this is a day to celebrate. Even with rising ticket prices it wasn’t that long ago that no one thought a $200 million opening was even possible.

Dropping to second place was “Think Like A Man” with another $8 million and a superb $73 million so far. The Screen Gems comedy has an excellent chance of crossing the $100 million mark before the month’s end.

The aforementioned “Hunger Games” stakes out the third slot with another $5.7 million in its 7th weekend. The Gary Ross blockbuster is now up to $380 million and is perilously close to hitting $400 million domestic.

Fourth place went to the “The Lucky One.”  Zac Efron’s romantic drama grossed another $5.5 million for $47.9 million so far. “Lucky One” will become the fifth creation of author Nicholas Sparks to cross the $50 million mark. And, more telling, every single one of his films has made over $40 million domestic. Considering how relatively inexpensive his dramas are, that’s an excellent track record.

Fifth went to “The Pirates: A Band of Misfits.” The Sony Animation and Aardman Animation collaboration found $5.4 million for a disappointing $18.5 million to date.

Next weekend’s new releases include Tim Burton’s adaptation of the cult 60’s TV series “Dark Shadows.”

Box office actuals are released on Monday.

For interviews with the cast of “The Avengers,” photos and more, click here.