‘Avengers’ grosses $18.7 million in late-night shows

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With the sun rising on its first day in U.S. theaters, ‘The Avengers’ has already taken in $322.7 million at the global box office.

Marvel’s superhero team-up movie took in $18.7 million from screenings at or soon after midnight Friday morning in the U.S. and Canada, according to an estimate from distributor Walt Disney Studios. That’s the eighth-highest total ever for midnight screenings, behind March’s ‘The Hunger Games’ and the last three ‘Twilight’ and ‘Harry Potter’ movies.

Most significant for Disney, all of those films that debuted on a Friday went on to have huge opening weekends of more than $125 million. ‘Avengers’ seems destined to do that, with pre-release surveys indicating that the debut will likely exceed $150 million. That would put the film among the top five domestic openings of all time, not accounting for ticket-price inflation.

The picture, which teams previous Marvel movie characters Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor and Captain America with other superheroes, is already a tremendous hit overseas, where it opened in most countries last week. Including $22.9 million in receipts Thursday, its international take currently stands at $304 million.


By Sunday, ‘Avengers,’ which cost $220 million to produce, could amass nearly $600 million in worldwide ticket sales.


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-- Ben Fritz