The Avengers: how it broke the $200m barrier in one weekend

The Avengers

The all-star superhero movie smashed records on its opening weekend in the US

LAST UPDATED AT 13:26 ON Mon 7 May 2012

SUPERHERO blockbuster The Avengers has smashed box office records in the US, taking $200.3m on its opening weekend, the first time the $200m barrier has been broken.

It eclipsed the previous record holder, 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, which pulled in a paltry $169.2 million.

The film, which was renamed Avengers Assemble in the UK to avoid confusion with the vintage TV series, was directed by Joss Whedon, best known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It brings together a cast and characters well known to the audience and stars Robert Downey Jnr as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury.

The critics have a number of theories about why it has been so successful:

Planning
The Avengers has been a long time coming. This film marks the climax of a six-year plan that brought together a number of characters that had already appeared on the big screen. "The record weekend was the culmination of years of careful planning by Marvel Studios, which has included teasers for an Avengers dream team collaboration in its solo superhero adventures," reported The Guardian.

The more the merrier
Superhero films usually have the one hero, but this one had a busload. It goes to prove that the battering ram approach can work. "If you combine more than six known characters from a bundle of previous comics and films, you'll get pretty much six times the box office," said the LA Times.

Mass appeal
E! Online said that much of The Avengers' success can be put down to the fact that it appeals to everyone. Some blockbusters cater to a male audience but The Avengers had the largest female opening weekend crowd since Iron Man 2. And it wasn't just for grown ups. "Families kept seats warm in the daytime, young adults and teens moved in later, and couples out on date nights dominated the evening business," explained the website.

No opposition
Who would want to take on the likes of Thor and Captain America? No-one in Hollywood, it seems, which is why there were no other major releases over the weekend. "No other big films dared go up against it, with only the British film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel being released on the same day," said the BBC.

Getting there first
Cinema-goers have been champing at the bit to go and see one of the huge releases lined up for 2012. The Avengers happened to be the first cab off the rank. Still to come are Spider-Man and Batman films, Men in Black 3 and Ridley Scott's Prometheus. "The Avengers kicks off what looks to me to be the summer box-office equivalent of the 100-year flood," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "This is perhaps the most perfect summer lineup in box-office history." · 

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