Hollywood Box Office: The Avengers Just Rescued Disney

Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) superhero mash-up The Avengers pulverized the domestic revenue record at the box office this weekend with a 3-day cume of $200.3 million, making it the biggest opening ever.

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The 3D tentpole marked a major victory for Disney and Marvel Studios, with their movie shooting past the previous record of $169.2 million set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 last summer. The Avengers opened a week ago overseas and earned a whopping just in foreign markets $441.5 million through Sunday. To date, the movie has earned a total of $641.8 million and has surpassed the lifetime totals of Captain America: The First Avenger ($364 million), Thor ($449 million), Iron Man ($585 million), and Iron Man 2 ($624 million).

The film is expected to reach $1 billion in global grosses in a much-needed win for Disney, which posted a $200 million loss after John Carter flopped at the box officer earlier this year. The movie is the first film in history to cross $200 million in only three days of play at the domestic box office, and also earned $69.7 million on Saturday alone. The Avengers validated Marval Studios’ strategy of building a franchise by turning out single titles and bringing the characters together.

The Avengers is the first Marvel title marketed and distributed by Disney since it acquired Marvel in 2009. Prior to that acquisition, Paramount Pictures (NYSE:VIAB) distributed Marvel’s films. Paramount will also be receiving a minimum of $115 million in distribution fees for The Avengers and next summer’s Iron Man 3.

According to Disney’s Executive Vice President of Distribution Dave Hollis, all segments of the audience have shown interest in the film, including families. Couples made up 55 percent of the audience, families 24 percent, and teens 21 percent. Males represented 60 percent of the audience. The Avengers was also popular among all age groups, with 50 percent of the film’s audience under the age of 25, while 50 percent were over. Approximately 52 percent of viewers opted to watch the film in 3D.

IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX) theaters reported record business this weekend and are expecting a worldwide cumulative audience of $31.2 million. The Avengers was the only widely released film in the U.S. this weekend.

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