Marvel pic earns second highest domestic opening ever

Exceeding early afternoon predictions, Marvel’s “The Avengers” earned $80.5 million at the domestic B.O. Friday, the second highest domestic opening day gross of all time behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II.”

This figure includes an $18.7 million Thursday midnight take.

Internationally, the actioner has already earned $414.8 million, the highest int’l gross for a Marvel property, and this frame should mark a significant boost in that figure with the pic opening in overseas behemoths China and Russia (“Avengers” opened in 39 int’l markets last week).

The “Harry Potter” conclusion is outpacing “Avengers” by $10.5 million, and while it likely won’t upset that record-holding order by Sunday, it stands a good chance of outperforming “The Dark Knight,” current second placer with $158.4 million.

The key will be appealing outside of fanboy communities, which “Avengers” is capable of with kid favorite characters like the Hulk, and on repeat business from avid enthusiasts. And with 77% of screens playing the pic in 3D, it should see a healthy boost from the format.

On Friday, 3D constituted 60% of “Avengers’” take. Additionally, the actioner is seeing an even split between auds older and younger than 25, with almost two-thirds of auds male. Pic received an A+ Cinemascore.

Behind the superheroes, Sony/Screen Gems’ “Think Like a Man” maintained a healthy hold with $2.7 million Friday for a domestic cume of $67.7 million. Following that, Warner Bros.’ “The Lucky One” grossed $2 million, and Universal’s “The Five Year Engagement” earned $1.7 million.

Fox Searchlight opener “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” opened in 27 locations with a per screen average of $7,298. Pic lands Stateside this frame after an int’l run accruing $70.4 million.

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