From The WRAP: The Avengers" thundered its way to box-office history, rolling up $200.3 million for the biggest three-day U.S. weekend ever.
At the same time, Disney and Marvel Entertainment's superhero mashup added another $151.5 million from 52 overseas territories this weekend to up its foreign box-office cume to $441.5 million, giving it a staggering $641.8 million here and abroad in the 12 days since its release.
The huge opening got the summer movie season off to a roaring start. In the process, "The Avengers" blew past last year's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," which had held the record for the best first-weekend at $169.1 million.
Disney marketers, handling a Marvel film for the first time, capitalized on a fan base that has been building since "Iron Man" in 2008, glowing reviews and major momentum from massive foreign debuts.
"Never, ever did we think it would go this high," Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice-president of exhibition told TheWrap on Sunday morning. "If there was one consistency about this weekend, it was that we kept getting surprised by numbers better than we could have imagined in the best case."
He said that Saturday was key, building on the strong fan-boy fueled Friday and midnight shows.
"Our $69.5 million Saturday, which set a record, showed you can cross over," Hollis said. "It became an 'everybody' picture."
The numbers back him up. "The Avengers" audience was 60 percent male and 40 percent female, and 50 percent over 25 and 50 percent under. Couples made up 55 percent of the crowds, teens 21 percent.
"As much as there were exceptional expectations, that A+ CinemaScore shows everyone left satisfied," Hollis said.