The Avengers doesn’t come out for a week, but the folks at Disney (distributors of Marvel’s superhero title) are already seeing a lot of green — and it’s not just because of the Hulk.

In its overseas debut yesterday, The Avengers punched up a terrific $17.1 million from 10 countries. That gross includes $6.2 million in Australia (the second highest opening day of all time), $3.7 million in Italy, $2.9 million in France, $1.3 million in Taiwan (the highest opening day of all time), and $0.8 million in New Zealand (again, the highest opening day of all time). Lucrative markets like England, China, and Russia are still waiting to see the film.

“We’re extremely encouraged by this incredible start,” says Dave Hollis, Disney’s EVP of theatrical exhibition. If you ask us, it sounds like he’s being modest. By all accounts, Disney has a bona fide smash on its hands.

Early tracking reports for The Avengers are among the strongest ever seen and project that the film will earn about $125 million to $150 million on opening weekend. Mind you, the first tracking reports for The Hunger Games placed the film in the $75 million to $100 million range, but as we all know, it far exceeded expectations, with a $152.5 million debut.

If a similar kind of over-performance happens with The Avengers, Disney could be looking at the highest opening weekend of all time. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 currently holds this title with $169.2 million. The Dark Knight‘s $158.4 million bow puts it in second. The Hunger Games sits in third.

According to, pre-sales for The Avengers are through the roof. A rep for the ticketing company says that The Avengers has sold 1.5 times as many tickets as Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, Iron Man, and Iron Man 2 combined had sold at the same point in their pre-release cycles. Cha-ching!

Even more encouraging for Disney, 56 percent of these pre-sales are for 3-D showings (Cha-ching!), and 37 percent are for IMAX screenings (Cha-ching!).

With anticipation reaching dizzying heights (thanks to great covers like this one), strong reviews continuing to pour in, and the built-in excitement of seeing Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and Hulk in one movie, the question on everyone’s minds is whether the Joss Whedon-directed The Avengers will be able to achieve the lofty opening weekend record at the box office. If nothing else, a debut above $150 million is looking likely — especially in this remarkably strong year for the film industry.

What do you think? Can The Avengers take out Harry Potter? Stay tuned to my Twitter for breaking box office updates, and keep checking back here on for full coverage. Something tells me that this summer will give box office junkies a LOT to talk about.

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