Take a seat Harry Potter. Step back Batman. Put away that arrow Katniss. There’s a new king of the box office world and it’s a throne shared by several superheroes. Early reports say Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers will end the weekend grossing $200.3 million, setting the all-time opening weekend domestic box office record by a large margin. It crushed the previous record held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 by almost $30 million thanks in part to the second biggest Friday gross of all time (behind Potter) and the biggest Saturday gross of all time. The film is the fastest to ever reach $200 million and has made almost $650 million internationally in its first 12 days of release.

Read the press release and more after the jump.

Here’s the press release from Disney announcing the feat. Do realize that, we have almost all day Sunday still so the $200.3 number could go up or down, but the record is most certainly broken:

The Walt Disney Studios announced today that Marvel’s The Avengers posted an estimated $200.3 million in its domestic debut May 4-6, shattering previous records and positioning the film as the highest-grossing domestic debut of all time. The film’s cumulative global box office gross is an estimated $641.8 million over 12 days in release.

In just three days, Marvel’s the Avengers is the fastest movie to reach $200 million domestically. The domestic debut kicked off Friday, May 4 and marks the second highest single day take of all time at $80.5 million. Saturday’s box office gross of $69.7 million is the highest Saturday take of all time. Moviegoers gave Marvel’s The Avengers a rare and perfect A+ CinemaScore.

Marvel’s The Avengers began opening internationally April 25 and crossed the $600 million mark globally May 6 after just 12 days in release.

International box office highlights include:

  • Opened May 3 in Russia with $17.9 million, the biggest Marvel opening weekend ever
  • Opened May 5 in China with $17.4 million
  • Biggest opening weekend of all time in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Central America, Bolivia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Philippines

So the big question becomes, will The Dark Knight Rises reclaim the throne The Dark Knight won in 2008? The answer, quite simply, is no. The Avengers, as well as Harry Potter, were in 3D, considerably raising the cost of the majority of tickets sold. And while The Dark Knight Rises will be in IMAX, that’s a small fraction of the number of screens compared to 3D.

The bigger question on that front will be, with a two month handicap, can The Dark Knight Rises end up grossing more by the end of the year? It’s a stupid, pointless question, but a fun one to discuss none the less. At this point, I don’t think it’s possible.

On the Marvel front, this number all but assures a second Avengers movie will be rushed ahead, likely after the release of Captain America 2 in April 2014. Can it be as good with three films, all sequels, and none introducing any new, major players?

A huge congrats to Marvel and Joss Whedon though. They made a great movie that people wanted to see and are reaping the rewards.

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