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    The Avengers' Big Return to Theaters: A Titanic Surprise?

    Avengers Marvel/Disney Enterprises

    The Avengers has one more trick up its sleeve.

    The summer's and year's biggest box-office hit will move back onto 1,700 screens Friday. The wide-release push is timed to the Labor Day box-office weekend. 

    While the move recalls earlier speculation about a director's-cut version that would help The Avengers sail past Titanic among Hollywood's all-time blockbusters, it's actually not a get-James Cameron plot, either in design or expected execution.

    Why The Avengers can't beat Titanic

    Disney says the version going wide on the last weekend of summer will be the same version that went wide on the first weekend. (The tease on the movie's Facebook page—"Don't forget to stay through the credits…"—is apparently just a reminder for shawarma fans.)

    The studio employed a similar Labor Day rerelease strategy with last summer's Cars 2, and is, in fact, bumping Brave back up to 1,700 screens this weekend as well. 

    The Avengers, which opened May 4, grossed about $115,000 at 123 theaters last weekend, per BoxOfficeMojo.com stats.

    The Avengers a 1,000-to-1 shot for Best Picture?!

    With its theater count beefed up, the Marvel superhero movie could take in about $1.5 million this coming weekend, Exhibitor Relations guestimated. Its four-day, holiday total was expected to be in the ballpark of $2 million.

    Either take would leave The Avengers still a long way from Titanic, which sits at nearly $660 million domestically following a 3-D rerelease this past spring.

    Through Sunday, The Avengers had grossed a staggering $617.8 million. It is the third-biggest-ever domestic and worldwide hit, behind Titanic and the all-time champ, Cameron's Avatar.

    Look for The Avengers at a theater nearer you through Thursday. Look for it on DVD on Sept. 25. And then just start looking forward to the sequel.

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