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'Avengers' keeps up box office dominance

LOS ANGELES -- Earth's mightiest comic book heroes kept smashing North American box office records as “The Avengers” thrashed all comers to haul in US$103.2 million over the weekend, industry estimates showed.

Directed by cult favorite Joss Whedon, the Walt Disney high-thrills action adventure made in collaboration with Marvel Comics — which scored the highest grossing U.S. debut of all time — has earned US$373.2 million so far, box office tracker Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

Walt Disney said the film, which was released first abroad before hitting U.S. shores, was on target to join the elite club of the world's few billion-dollar movies.

“The Avengers” pounded Tim Burton's new Johnny Depp vampire flick “Dark Shadows,” which earned about US$28.8 million in its debut weekend.

Romantic comedy “Think Like A Man” slipped into third place earning US$6.3 million.

Smash action hit “The Hunger Games” was in the fourth spot in its eighth week on the big screen. The movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, earned US$4.4 million and has raked in more than US$386.9 million since its opening.

In fifth place was tearjerker drama “The Lucky One,” an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book starring Zac Efron of “High School Musical” fame as a U.S. soldier back from Iraq. The movie made US$4.1 million in its fourth weekend.

“The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” a children's animation film from the studio that produced the “Wallace and Gromit” series was in the number six spot earning US$3.2 million.

Emily Blunt and Jason Segel feature “The Five-Year Engagement” dropped to seventh place, with US$3.1 million.

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” a comedic drama about British retirees in India, was in the number eight spot for the week with US$2.7 million.

“Chimpanzee,” a true-life, child-friendly adventure about a special chimp in the jungles of Ivory Coast also from the Walt Disney stable, was in ninth, with US$1.6 million.

And in its premiere weekend, “Girl in Progress,” with Eva Mendes as a single mom, came in 10th with US$1.35 million.

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