New Delhi: 'The Avengers,' the smash hit movie about Marvel superheroes who team up to save the Earth, crushed competitors for a second weekend with a record $103.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales and was poised to top $1 billion worldwide.
After posting the highest domestic box office debut in history, 'Avengers' set another record by easily topping the $75.6 million 'Avatar' pulled in during its second weekend in 2009, making 'Avengers' the first movie to exceed $100 million in its second weekend.
'Avengers' has now racked up a staggering $628.9 million internationally since opening overseas on April 25, distributor Walt Disney Co said, positioning it to break the $1 billion threshold after just 19 days.
"We're obviously thrilled," said Robert Iger, Disney's Chairman and CEO in a statement.
"You can never anticipate this kind of success," echoed Dave Hollis, executive vice president for motion picture distribution. "It's a staggering result."
Its success owed in large part to "a story that delivers on every level, to every segment of the audience," he added.
The big-budget 3D flick - the first of Hollywood's lucrative summer season - unites Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America and other Marvel comic book heroes in a fight against a villain determined to destroy the planet. Disney announced this week it is planning an 'Avengers' sequel.
The movie took in $207.4 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters over its opening weekend, helping improve the performance of the studio, which earlier stumbled at box offices with its big-budget release 'John Carter.'
'Avengers' mania overwhelmed new horror comedy 'Dark Shadows,' according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. 'Dark Shadows' pulled in an estimated $28.8 million at domestic theaters.
'The Avengers' is likely to become the highest grossing movie of all times after making USD 1 billion in worldwide box-office takings in just three weeks.
Industry insiders predicting it will soon overtake 'Toy Story 3' on the highest grossing list, and could rise as high as Number 3, ousting the final 'Harry Potter' movie, The Hollywood Reporter said.
The Disney-produced movie has now easily become the highest grossing superhero movie of all time, surpassing 2008's 'The Dark Knight', as well as the three recent Spider-Man films.
'The Avengers' will now have its eye firmly on James Cameron's 'Avatar', which took a massive USD 2.7 billion to make it the highest grossing movie of all time. (With inputs from Reuters and PTI)