Earth's mightiest comic book heroes shattered North American box office records in the just-released The Avengers. Industry trackers say it took an estimated US$200 million (HK$1.56 billion) during its debut weekend.
Directed by screen cult favorite Joss Whedon, the Walt Disney adventure movie brings together Marvel Comics heroes Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Thor as they help save Earth from bad guy Loki.
The film, the highest-grossing debut in Hollywood history, features Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor), reprising roles from their earlier stand-alone movies.
Romantic comedy Think Like A Man, which had topped the North American box office for two weeks in a row, fell to a distant second place, earning US$8 million. That took its three-week total to US$73 million.
Smash action hit The Hunger Games remained in third place in its seventh week on the big screen. The movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, earned another US$5.7 million, raking in more than US$380 million since its opening.
Legions of fans have flocked to see the film based on a book by Suzanne Collins in which a teenage girl played by Lawrence fights to win a deadly television reality show featuring children in a post-apocalyptic world.
Tearjerker drama The Lucky One, an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book starring Zac Efron as a US soldier back from Iraq, held onto fourth place. It made US$5.5 million in its third weekend.
In fifth place was The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a children's animation film from the studio that produced the Wallace and Gromit series. It earned US$5.4 million on its second weekend and moved down from second.
The Five-Year Engagement, starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segel, dropped to sixth place with US$5 million.
The Raven, starring John Cusack as 19th-century American author Edgar Allan Poe and which has had mediocre reviews, lingered in seventh place with US$2.5 million. And the Jason Statham action flick Safe dropped from sixth to eighth place with US$2.4 million.
Chimpanzee, a true-life, child- friendly adventure about a special chimp in the jungles of Ivory Coast also from Disney, hit ninth with US$2.3 million.
The Farrelly brothers' comedy The Three Stooges rounded out the top 10. In its fourth week, the tribute to the comedy trio brought in US$1.8 million. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE