Final figures from distributor Disney on Monday put the film’s debut $ 7.1 million higher than the studio had estimated a day earlier.
With a superstar cast, great reviews and glowing word of mouth from fans, “The Avengers” bounded past the previous record of $ 169.2 million set by last year’s “Harry Potter” finale.
The film drew in comic-book fans and general audiences alike, with the audience evenly split between those over and under 25, according to Disney.
Teens packed theaters, couples came to see it as a date movie and parents with children made it a family outing.
People thought, wow, a blockbuster film should do $ 100 million in its whole run, not just opening weekend, said Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
The Avengers leaped beyond the Potter finale with a long, shrewd buildup by Marvel Studios, which had tucked teasers for its eventual superhero ensemble tale into solo films such as Iron Man, ”Thor and Captain America for years.
Directed by Joss Whedon, who has been reading “The Avengers” comics since he was a boy, the film features Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.
“The Avengers” already has surpassed the worldwide box-office totals for “Iron Man,” ”Iron Man 2,” ”Thor” and “Captain America” in their entire runs.
The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Hollywood.com are:
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.