'The Avengers' and This Summer's Throwbacks Expected to Power Ticket Sales

PHOTO: Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner are shown during the filming of Marvels "The Avengers."
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Hollywood's new box-office king, "The Avengers," demonstrated the power of the throwback film ahead of several other films that will provide a blast from the past this summer.

"The Avengers" not only shattered the previous opening record with $200.3 million grossed during its debut weekend, its global opening in one week has brought in more than its recent film forerunners, "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," and "Captain America," brought in their entire theater releases, according to box office figures.

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com's movie editor, said he wasn't surprised that the film was "huge," describing "The Avengers" as an "endeavor that was five years in the making."

"Once 'Iron Man' was a hit in 2008, we knew 'The Avengers' was going to be big because Marvel put everything into it," he said.

Each forerunner film built anticipation for "The Avengers."

"They were almost like promotions for 'The Avengers.' The films created the biggest trailer you've ever seen," he said.

Patches said the film had a broad appeal that was, however, unexpected, given that comic books "are still a 'geek' medium."

"Iron Man 2," the previous highest grosser of the franchise had opening sales of $128.1 million and a total gross of $312.4 million, according to Box Office Mojo, dwarfing its prequel debut of $98.6 million. But "Iron Man's" gross was higher at $318.4 million.

Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" film, to be released on Friday, is based on a 1966-1971 gothic soap opera that aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. Burton's last film, "Alice in Wonderland," is a throwback of a different kind. That had an opening weekend debut of $116.1 million in 2010, the highest that weekend.

This year's superhero genre, ever-present in the summer blockbuster set, may give Disney, the studio for "The Avengers," reason for concern. The Walt Disney Co. is the owner of ABC News and this website.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" will be released on July 4 and "The Dark Knight Rises" will follow on July 20. Not surprisingly, both franchises had films that performed notably well overall, giving reason for proceeding versions.

The last "Batman" film, "The Dark Knight," from 2008, still has the no. 3 spot in all-time opening box-office. Directed and produced by Christopher Nolan, "The Dark Knight" had an opening weekend debut worth $158.4 million, and a total gross of $533.3 million, Box Office Mojo reports.

This year's "The Hunger Games" follows with an opening weekend debut of $152.5 million. Columbia Pictures' "Spider-Man 3" follows at no. 5 with a weekend opening of $151.1 million. That film grossed $336.5 million after it was released in May 2007.

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