Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” earned $80.5 million yesterday in U.S. and Canadian theaters, making it the second-biggest single-day gross in box- office history, according to Hollywood.com Box-Office.
The superhero film featuring Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk is expected to earn between $150 million and a weekend record of $170 million, according to analysts’ estimates. Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” holds the single-day record at $91.1 million, box-officer tracker Hollywood.com said.
The movie “will certainly wind up in the top five openings of all-time and could exceed ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ and take the crown for the biggest opening weekend of all-time,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office unit of Hollywood.com, in an e-mail. Disney’s mark may not be challenged until “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” open in July.
He said “Avengers” may best the last “Harry Potter” based on Friday receipts, even after the midnight showings only tallied $18.7 million. He said IMAX Corp. may have accounted for 8 percent of that total, with showings “virtually sold out” in all locations.
“The Avengers” is benefiting from the popularity of previous movies based on the characters, including Robert Downey Jr.’s two “Iron Man” movies. The film already had taken in $304 million outside the U.S. and Canada as of yesterday, Disney said in an e-mailed statement.
In the film, Marvel’s superheroes unite to battle an army led by Loki, the evil god of Norse mythology. In addition to Downey, the cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson.
The movie received an A+ CinemaScore, which is an exit- polling service that asks moviegoers what they thought of the film, Dergarabedian said. Such a rating is quite rare, he said.