‘THE AVENGERS’ NOW BIGGEST OPENER! Shocking $200M Record Domestic Weekend: Expecting $642M Global From First 12 Days

It’s now official — Marvel’s The Avengers is a monster worldwide hit for Disney in 2D, Digital 3D, RealD, and IMAX 3D theaters. The studio says 52% saw it in 3D, 40% in traditional 3D, 8% in IMAX, and 4% on premium large format. Exit polls showed the actioner attracted a four-quadrant audience with 50% over age 25 and 50% under 25, while 60% were male and 40% female. Also 55% were couples, 24% families, and 21% teens. Hollywood couldn’t be happier because it kicks off the all-important Summer 2012 movie season with sensational numbers. Avengers lived up to its billing as the ‘Superhero Team-Up Of A Lifetime’ by featuring all-in-one pic the iconic Marvel figures Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Nick Fury.

Disney says it’s looking at a record $69.7M grosses for Saturday after making $80.5M Friday (including $18.7M midnights) from 4,349 U.S. and Canadian locations, including 3,364 plays in 3D. Studio confirms it’s on track to shatter the domestic weekend opening record with $200.3M. (Warner Bros’ 3D Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 finale used to hold that record with $169M.) I believe Disney is being overly conservative and the final figure will exceed that since Avengers should make over $50M on Sunday. (And I thought SNL Kagan’s report predicting that $200M domestic debut before the weekend was nuts. Not now…) Disney reports international gross is now $441.5M. The worldwide total is already $641.8M after playing almost everywhere around the globe for the past 12 days including Friday in Russia ($17.9M) and Saturday in China ($17.4M). Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) went to the Beijing Film Festival to help open the film Saturday. One more thing to keep in mind: Avengersaccumulated a massive foreign number without opening yet in the major market of Japan. Globally, IMAX Avengers grossed $21.1+M this weekend and the global IMAX cume will be approx $31.2M as of Sunday night. IMAX Avengers brought in $6.1 mil internationally (which includes an amazing first day gross in China of $1.1M) on 174 digital-only locations. In North America IMAX had one big issue: it ran out of seats to sell. Avengers grossed $15+M domestically on 275 digital-only IMAX screens, which looks to be a virtual tie with the Harry Potter finale for the highest grossing opening weekend in IMAX’s history. It reports 17 of the top 20 engagements in North America playing the film were IMAX runs, and 110 domestic IMAX locations established a new opening Saturday record.

The global pressure was on because Avengers is the first Marvel Studios film from The Walt Disney Studios which took over marketing and distribution duties from Paramount. Disney CEO/President Bob Iger bought the comics entertainment company for $4 billion in 2009. Paramount still gets marquee credit and a portion of the fees. (I’m told that when Disney bought the distribution of Avengers and Iron Man 3, Paramount was paid a minimum of $115M. It gets the higher of the $115M or the combination of its 8% fee on Avengers, plus 9% on next years Iron Man 3. “Looks like there will be overages!” a Paramount exec told me excitedly Sunday. Paramount also kept the pay rights as part of the deal so Avengers will debut on Epix.) Why did this superhero actioner do so well at the box office? As one of my commenters succinctly summarizes: “Note to Hollywood: This is what happens when you let comic fans do comic book movies. Joss Whedon knocked it out of the park. The right mix of humor without camp, special effects without overusage, and action with good script. Having actors who like and/or know the characters doesn’t hurt either. Props to the casting folks.

Read more at Deadline Hollywood.

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