Joss Whedon's The Avengers has set a new bar in opening to a walloping $200.3 million at the domestic box office, the largest debut ever and kicking of summer 2012 in high style.
The Avengers -- marking a major victory for Disney and Marvel Studios -- easily dethroned Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which opened to $169.2 million last summer, then the largest number in history.
Overseas, where Avengers opened a week ago, the tentpole has now earned $441.5 million for a stunning worldwide total of $641.8 million -- already surpassing the lifetime totals of Captain America: The First Avenger ($364 million), Thor ($449 million), Iron Man ($585 million) and Iron Man 2 ($624 million).
The 3D tentpole is now positioned to reach $1 billion in global grosses.
Among other records, Avengers is the first film in history to cross $200 million in only three days of play at the domestic box office. It also scored the biggest Saturday gross of all time in earning $69.7 million.
"It's been a fantastic weekend on every single front," Disney executive vice president of distribution Dave Hollis said.
Hollis said the slim 13 percent drop from Friday to Saturday reflects great word of mouth, as well as the fact that all segments of the audience are turning out, including families.
The tentpole played evenly in terms of age, with 50 percent of the audience under the the age of 25 and 50 percent over. Couples made up 55 percent, families 24 percent and teens 21 percent. Males represented 60 percent of the audience.
Avengers -- which assembles marquee Marvel superhero characters Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) -- earned an A+ CinemaScore.
IMAX theaters reported record business, generating north of $15 million in ticket sales domestically to tie with Deathly Hallows Part 2 for the biggest opening weekend in the circuit's history. IMAX expects to finish the weekend with a worldwideume of $31.2 million.