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Weekend Box Office: The Avengers Soars to Unprecedented Box Office Opening

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By Chris Kavan - 05/07/12 at 02:50 AM CT

Those who scoffed at the idea that any movie could break the $200 million mark on opening weekend: enjoy that crow.

The Avengers obliterated the record in style, with a massive $200.3 million opening. That easily topped the previous top movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 ($169.2 million) from last year. The film also holds the record for fastest ever to break $100 million, $150 million and $200 million as well as the record for highest ($69.7 million) and Sunday ($50.1 million) gross and best per-theater average for any film with a nationwide release ($46,057). About the only record it didn't break was highest opening day gross (which Potter still holds).

The Avengers garnered praise from critics and audiences alike, and no doubt the successful marketing campaign (one could argue has been going on since the extra scene after Iron Man) also helped draw in audiences. The 3D screens accounted for 52% of that total - above Captain America's 40% but not quite as high as Thor's 60%. IMAX also provided a hefty $15 million.

In terms of the super hero films that preceded it, The Avengers has already topped Thor ($181 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($176.6 million) and The Incredible Hulk ($134.8 million) and will easily surpass the totals of Iron Man and Iron Man 2 ($318.4 million and $312.4 million, respectively) before it runs its course. It should easily top the $400 million mark and even $500 million may not be out of the question. The A+ cinemascore should mean that word of mouth, and repeat business, will keep it as a top draw for at least a few weeks.

Unsurprisingly, with The Avengers taking a huge chunk of box office gold, the remainder of the films had to fight over the scraps. Falling to second place in its third week out, Think Like a Man fell 55% and added another $8 million to its coffers, bringing its total to $73 million.

Despite heavy competition for its audience, The Hunger Games stayed in third place, off just over 47% to wind up with $5.7 million. After seven weeks, the film has made $380.7 million and will have no problem moving up on the all-time movie charts when it beats the $381 million total of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, probably within a day.

The Lucky One also held on to its 4th-place spot. With another $5.5 million in the bank, the film has made just about $48 million since its opening. Landing in 5th place, and taking a steep 52% hit, The Pirates! Band of Misfits took in $5.4 million for a $18.5 million total.

Every other film in the top 10 dropped over 50% from last week as well - with Safe taking the ignoble crown by losing a whopping 68.7% No doubt people looking for an action film turned in for The Avengers, and not yet another iteration of the same character Jason Statham has played in ever movie he has ever done. Safe wound up mired in 8th place with $2.4 million and has made just $12.8 million. The Raven was just ahead in 7th place with $2.5 million, though its total is lower, with just over $12 million to show for its trouble.

Next week the only wide release that will challenge The Avengers is Tim Burton's Dark Shadows - teaming up once again with Johnny Depp and though I think the film looks interesting, I don't think it will have wide enough appeal to topple The Avengers from its lofty perch.

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