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‘The Avengers,’ ‘Brave’ back in wide release for Labor Day weekend

Audiences typically avoid the multiplex around Labor Day, devoting their time instead to last-chance summer pursuits like barbecues and back-to-school shopping. 

But Walt Disney Studios will attempt to lure people back to theaters this weekend by expanding its Marvel superhero blockbuster, “The Avengers,” and Pixar princess tale, “Brave,” to roughly 1,700 theaters apiece.

An end-of-summer push has been attempted before by the studio -- last year, “Cars 2,” which first hit theaters in June, expanded from around 200 theaters to more than 2,000 during the Labor Day holiday and grossed $1.8 million.

“We wanted to try it again and use messaging that says, ‘Get it while you can, one last time before these films head to video,’” Disney’s executive vice president of distribution Dave Hollis said.

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Both “The Avengers” and “Brave” have been in theaters for months: “The Avengers,” which is currently playing on more than 100 screens, has grossed nearly $1.5 billion worldwide, including about $618 domestically, since it opened May 4. Already the third-highest-grossing film of all time, “The Avengers” will make its Blu-ray/DVD debut Sept. 25.

“Brave,” which is currently in about 500 theaters, has grossed $443 million worldwide and $230 domestically since it opened June 22. “Brave” will arrive on Blu-ray/DVD Nov. 13.

This weekend, both films will be playing on 3-D and 2-D screens. Their new wide-release competition: an R-rated drama (“Lawless”), a PG-13 horror movie (“The Possession”) and a G-rated toddler film (“The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure”).

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