Marvel’s The Avengers opened as the top film in U.S. and Canadian theaters, kicking off the summer movie season with a record $200.3 million in sales this weekend for Walt Disney Co. (DIS) Revenue topped the previous best of $169.2 million set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 last year, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement. Analysts had forecast sales of $150 million to $170 million for “The Avengers.”

Summer ticket sales are expected to surpass the record of $4.4 billion set last year, according to Jeff Bock, box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co. Other films scheduled in the coming weeks include Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises, directed by Christopher Nolan, and Sony Corp. (6758)’s Men in Black 3, a sequel that reunites Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as government agents managing Earth’s secret alien population.

The Avengers is the first Marvel movie Disney is distributing since buying the comic-book company for $4.2 billion in 2009. The movie provides Burbank, California-based Disney with a hit after the box-office failure of “John Carter,” the science-fiction film released in March that resulted in a $200 million loss for the company. (Source)


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