Marvel/Disney Enterprises

The Avengers is the superhero world's new box-office king—or, at least it is at midnight.

In 12 a.m. Friday screenings, the mega-Marvel movie grossed $18.7 million, according to its studio, a new high for the genre.

To recap: The Dark Knight just got beat. 

The Avengers' take is Hollywood's eighth-biggest ever for a midnight debut.

The night-owl gross helped push the film, teaming Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man with a half-dozen other Marvel heroes, past the $300 million mark worldwide.

The midnight opening is a box-office category that's very nearly been the exclusive domain of films based on young-adult best-sellers, from Harry Potter to Twilight to The Hunger Games, which narrowly retains its edge as the year's biggest 12 a.m. movie.

The previous best for a superhero movie was The Dark Knight's then-record $18.5 million.

The Avengers bested The Dark Knight with the help of 3-D ticket prices, as well as 2012-priced 2-D and IMAX ones. The 3-D format also aided The Avengers in closing the gap in sold-out screenings with The Hunger Games, which has been shown only in 2-D and IMAX.  

With the midnight superhero record in its pocket, The Avengers will next set its sights on the Batman epic's opening-weekend mark of $158.4 million, the second-biggest of all time. The Hunger Games is right there in third place with a $152.5 million debut.

"The key will be Saturday's number," Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

The Avengers has widely been expected to gross about $150 million domestically by Sunday.   

Here's a complete rundown of the top 10 all-time midnight debuts, as compiled per Hollywood.com stats:

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, $43.5 million
  2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1, $30.3 million
  3. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, $30 million
  4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon, $26.3 million
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, $24 million
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, $22.2 million
  7. The Hunger Games, $19.7 million
  8. The Avengers, $18.7 million
  9. The Dark Knight, $18.5 million
  10. Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith, $16.9 million

(Originally published at 9:38 a.m. PT on May 4, 2012.)

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.