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'The Avengers' expected to top $1 billion worldwide

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:50 AM EDT, Mon May 14, 2012
Chris Hemsworth, left, stars as Thor and Chris Evans stars as Captain America in
Chris Hemsworth, left, stars as Thor and Chris Evans stars as Captain America in "The Avengers."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "The Avengers" earns an estimated $103.2 million its second weekend, Disney says
  • It had the highest domestic box office debut of all time
  • Disney is already planning a sequel to the superhero smorgasbord

Editor's note: Read this story in Spanish.

(CNN) -- Superheroes are proving their powers at the box office.

"The Avengers," a superhero smorgasbord featuring Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk, is expected to top $1 billion worldwide on Sunday, its 19th day of release, said Walt Disney Studios.

The film, which had the highest domestic box office debut, brought in an estimated $103.2 million in domestic theaters its second weekend, setting another industry record, according to Disney.

We're obviously thrilled with the global success of 'The Avengers'
Robert A. Iger, Disney's chairman and chief executive

It raked in $207.4 million opening weekend.

"We're obviously thrilled with the global success of 'The Avengers,'" Robert A. Iger, Disney's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. "It's a fantastic movie and an extraordinary franchise that will continue with more great stories and compelling characters for years to come."

To date, "The Avengers" has earned some $628.9 million internationally, said Disney.

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The company is planning a sequel to the smash film.

Its success is another boon for the movie industry, which racked up about $2.3 billion at the U.S. box office for the first three months of 2012 -- up almost 46% from a year earlier, according to Box Office Mojo. Still, in some ways Hollywood had nowhere to go but up after posting its worst year for ticket sales in 2011 in 16 years.

Before "The Avengers" burst on the scene, "The Hunger Games" from Lionsgate had been this year's box-office champ, taking in an estimated $155 million domestically in its first weekend.

Other might-be blockbusters on the horizon include "Men in Black III" hitting theaters Memorial Day weekend, and "Brave," the latest animated feature from Pixar due in June. And two other comic-inspired vehicles, "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises," are also on the summer movie calendar.

The success of "The Avengers" comes on the heels of Disney's epic flop "John Carter," which lost an estimated $200 million and cost the head of the company's studio unit his job.

Disney gained the rights to the characters from "The Avengers" with its $4 billion purchase of comic book publisher Marvel three years ago.

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