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Huge ‘Avengers’ Debut Kicks Off Summer Movie Season

Source: Marvel.com

Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man and Hawkeye are teaming up to take the box office by storm. Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ officially kicks off the summer box office, and it’s on track to be one of the biggest movies of the year, and one of the top five opening weekends of all time.

We expect somewhere between $145 million and $170 million at the U.S. box office this weekend.

It’s already off to a strong international start: the movie, which started to his theaters overseas last weekend has already grossed $280 million internationally and it hasn’t net opened in major markets like Japan, China, and Russia.

It could very well gross more than $500 million globally by Sunday night.

Last night here in the US ‘Avengers’ was released in digital 3D, RealD and Imax 3D Thursday night in about 2,500 locations. Fandango says it’s already sold out more than 1,300 show times—95 percent of all ticket sales right now—which means it’s one of the company’s top advance ticket-sellers of the year.

And midnight screenings were so packed last night that theaters in both New York and LA had to add extra screenings. Disney’s El Capitan Theater in Hollywood , is hosting ‘around the clock screenings, including one at 4 am.

The movie cost about $200- $225 million to produce, according to my Hollywood sources. But the line I heard from several people is that “it doesn’t matter how much it cost—it’s going to make a gazillion dollars.” Hollywood insiders debate whether Avengers or Warner Brothers Dark Knight will be bigger—but one thing’s for sure, they’ll both be massively profitable for their respective studios.

Disney needs this hit, it comes on the heels of its ‘John Carter’ bomb, which is responsible for a $200 million loss at the studio. A big opening weekend is sure to feed speculation that Marvel chief Kevin Feige will replace recently-ousted studio chief Rich Ross.

But sources tell me he’s not a natural fit. We’ll see if CEO Bob Iger has any announcements about his plans to hire a studio boss to make more ‘Avengers’ and fewer ‘John Carters.’

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.