‘THE AVENGERS’ WINS 3rd WEEKEND: Highest-grossing Disney film ever sinks ‘Battleship,’ chases history

TONY STARK has the Dark Knight in his sights, as “The Avengers” takes care of business in both the present and the past.

“The Avengers” grossed $55.1-million to win its third straight weekend domestically, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Marvel film pulled in more than the weekend’s three biggest newcomers combined: “Battleship” ($25.4-million), “The Dictator” ($17.4-million) and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” ($10.5-million). Final numbers are expected Monday.

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“The Avengers” is also chasing box-office history as it tracks down 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” which grossed $533-million domestically — the most ever for a superhero film and third all-time , behind only James Cameron’s “Avatar” and “Titanic,” according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. (Figures are not adjusted for inflation.)

Domestically, “The Avengers” — which now sits at $457-million — passed “Toy Story 3,” “The Lion King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" to become the highest-grossing Disney film ever.

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Joss Whedon’s ”Marvel's The Avengers” also becomes Disney’s highest-grosser globally, too, now sitting at fourth all-time with $1.18-billion — putting it within reach of the next film up the rungs: the Harry Potter finale from last year ($1.32-billion).

The final film in Chris Nolan/Christian Bale’s Batman trilogy is due in July — when it will be the Dark Knight’s chance to chase the Avengers.

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HULK SMASH BOX OFFICE: "Marvel's The Avengers" continues to trample all comers in its assault on the box-office record books. (Used by permisson 2011 MARVEL )

[AVENGERS’ DEBUT: Marvel film obliterates the opening-weekend record books]

[AVENGERS’ BIG NUMBER: Blockbuster tops $1-billion globally]

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.
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