By Todd Cunningham
"The Avengers" will hit $1 billion in global box office Sunday, in its 19th day of release, Disney said.
The star-studded Marvel superhero mashup took in another $103.2 million from 4,349 U.S. theaters over the weekend, the best-ever second week and the first time a film has broken $100 million in a second frame. The box-office bounty provided by "The Avengers" resonated up to the boardroom.
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"It's a fantastic movie and an extraordinary franchise that will continue with more great stories and compelling characters for years to come," Robert Iger, Disney's Chairman and CEO, said in a statement released Sunday morning.
Combined with its unprecedented $207.4 million debut weekend, "The Avengers" has taken in $372.2 million at U.S. theaters.
"The Avengers" added $95.4 million from 54 foreign territories over the weekend, upping its foreign haul to $628.9 million.
The all-time global box office leaders are two James Cameron films. "Avatar" rang up $2.7 billion in 2009, breaking the mark of $2.1 billion set by "Titanic" in 1997.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it passed 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' for the No. 3 spot," Jeff Bock, a senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Col., told TheWrap. That movie took in $1.3 billion last year.
"This is a testament to a fantastic piece of filmmaking by the director Joss Whedon and the super cast and all associated," Dave Hollis, Disney's evp of distribution told TheWrap Sunday morning. "They over-delivered on very high expectations, and that's set the tone for this film's run."
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"The Avengers" has gotten the summer off to a roaring start, and appears to have smooth sailing for at least another week. Paramount opens Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" on Wednesday, and Universal bows its overseas hit "Battleship" next weekend, but those films aren't likely to dethrone "The Avengers." Sony's "Men in Black 3," which opens on May 25, could do it.
"One of the best things I've seen when I've gone to the theaters and sat in the back row is entire families really having fun," Hollis said. "I hope these experiences raise the tide for the whole summer movie season for everybody."
The ensemble cast of the PG-13-rated "The Avengers" features Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo.
Whedon co-wrote with Zak Penn and directed the film, which brings many of Marvel's pantheon of comic book superheroes together for the first time. The film is produced by Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Jon Favreau, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Patricia Whitcher, Victoria Alonso and Jeremy Latcham.
It wasn't all "The Avengers." Elsewhere domestically, Warner Bros.' "Dark Shadows" managed $28.8 million on 3,755 screens for No. 2. That's a soft debut for the remake of the campy 1970s soap that stars Johnny Depp with Tim Burton directing.
The film received a B- CinemaScore and its audience skewed older and female. Seventy-three percent of those who saw the film were over 25, 55 percent over 35, and women made up 57 percent of the audience. The film opened in 42 foreign territories as well.
In its fourth week, Screen Gems' comedy "Think Like a Man" declined just 22
percent and took in $6.3 million for the third spot, upping its overall domestic
gross to $81.9 million.
Fox Searchlight's "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" jumped into the top ten, bringing in $2.6 million from just 178 screens, for a glossy $14,888 per-screen average and the No. 8 spot. It's overall domestic haul stands at $3.7 million.
Another independent film, Lionsgate's "Girl in Progress," took the No. 10 spot with $1.3 million from 322 locations. Eva Mendes, Matthew Modine and Patricia Arquette star in the story of a single mom too busy to give her daughter the attention she desperately needs.
1. "The Avengers," $103.1 million
2. "Dark Shadows," $28.8 million
3. "Think Like a Man," $6.3 million
4. "The Hunger Games," $4.4 million
5. "The Lucky One," $4 million
6. "Pirates! Band of Misfits," $3.2 million
7. "Five-Year Engagement," $3 million
8. "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," $2.6 million
9. "Chimpanzee," $1. 6 million
10. "Girl in Progress," $1.3 million
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