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 (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.


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 )

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