The box office estimates are in for the May 4th weekend and SHIELD’s Helicarrier just destroyed Hogwarts. Marvel’s The Avengers has become the world’s biggest film opening ever, dominating previous record holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Dark Knight by over $30 million domestically.

The Avengers isn’t just winning the love from moviegoers and fans however, as it’s also earning high critical praise with a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 4.5/5 score in Screen Rant’s own review of The Avengers. Let’s take a look at the numbers and comparisons.

According to the Walt Disney Studios estimates up on Box Office Mojo, The Avengers ranked in $200.3 million domestically (including a record-breaking $15.5 in Canada) over the weekend after also succeeding as the biggest midnight opening ever for a superhero film ($18.7 million vs. The Dark Knight’s $18.5 million), along with breaking a multitude of international records.

[Update: The actuals are in and The Avengers made even more! $207,438,708 to be precise.]

[Update 2: Disney’s CEO confirms The Avengers 2 is in development.]

The top five domestic opening weekends ever:

  1. The Avengers ($207,438,708)
  2. Harry Potter 7-2 ($169,189,427)
  3. The Dark Knight ($158,411,483)
  4. The Hunger Games ($152,535,747)
  5. Spider-Man 3 ($151,116,516)

For comparison, here are the previous Marvel Studios opening weekends:

  1. Iron Man 2 ($128,122,480)
  2. Iron Man ($98,618,668)
  3. Thor ($65,723,338)
  4. Captain America: The First Avenger ($65,058,524)
  5. The Incredible Hulk ($55,414,050)

Worldwide, The Avengers has now brought in nearly $642 million and is on track to approach James Cameron numbers for Titanic and Avatar, which both sit above $2 billion thanks to the recent Titanic 3D re-release.

Actuals will hit tomorrow, but for now we can safely say that Joss Whedon has directed the biggest opening movie of all time and is finally going to get the credit he deserves and the ability to do what he wants going forward. For Marvel Studios, they’ve successfully branded The Avengers and all of its respective characters and should have a lot more leeway and hopefully, creative freedom, to take more risks going forward with their future projects and Avengers sequels. The success of this film could change Marvel’s plans for 2014 and 2015 where three-four films remain unannounced.

The Avengers are here to stay and fans have welcomed them with open arms.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was the first film to break $100 million in one weekend at the box office so it’s fitting that another Marvel film breaks the $200 million barrier. We now await what The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises can do at the box office and in the eyes of fans and critics when they release in July.

If you’ve seen The Avengers, please refrain from talking spoilers – we have a spoilers discussion thread for that and check out ourdiscussion on The Avengers post-credits scenes.

The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgard. It is of course written and directed by Joss Whedon.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes if you’re a Marvel fan.

Source: Box Office Mojo