Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios bring word that ‘The Avengers’ has become the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time in the US, raking in an estimated $200.3 million – astronomical figures!  The previous record was held by last years ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,’ which earned $169.2 million its opening weekend. ‘The Avengers’ earned $80.5 million on Friday, which is the second-highest single day take of all time and Saturday’s take of $69.7 million is the highest Saturday of all time. After just 12 days of release, the films estimated global total is $641.8 million.

Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in ‘Iron Man,’ ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Thor,’ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger,’ the global box office for ‘The Avengers’ has already surpassed the totals of those individual films. The totals for those preceding films are: ‘Iron Man’ (2008) – $98.6 million debut; $318.4 US/$585.1 worldwide. ‘The Incredible Hulk’ (2008) – $55.4 million debut; $134.8 US/$263.4 worldwide.  ‘Iron Man 2′ (2010) – $128.1 million debut; $312.4 US/$623.9 worldwide. ‘Thor’ (2011) – $65.7 million debut; $181 US/$449.3 worldwide. ‘Captain America’ (2011) – $65 million debut; $176.6 US/$368.6 worldwide. The five highest-grossing opening US weekends now round out as: ‘The Avengers’ with a projected $200.3 million, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2′ with $169.1 million, Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ with $158.4 million, this years ‘The Hunger Games’ with $152.5 million, and then finally ‘Spider-Man 3′ with $151.1 million.

Directed by Joss Whedon, ‘The Avengers’ (‘Avengers Assemble’ in the UK) stars Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki). The likes of Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, and Stellen Skarsgard co-star.

Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the super hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. 

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, “Marvel’s The Avengers” brings together the mightiest super hero characters as they all assemble together on screen for the first time. The star studded cast of super heroes will be joined by Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother) as Agent Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Tom Hiddleston (“Wallander”) and Stellan Skarsgård (“Angels & Demons,” “Mamma Mia!”) who will both reprise their respective roles as Loki and Professor Erik Selvig from the upcoming Marvel Studios’ feature “Thor.”

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is being produced by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D’Esposito, Patty Whitcher, and Jon Favreau. Marvel Studios’ Jeremy Latcham and Victoria Alonso will co-produce.

The creative production team also includes Oscar nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey (“Atonement”), production designer James Chinlund (“25th Hour”), Oscar winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Oscar winning visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs (“Iron Man 2,” “The Matrix”), visual effects producer Susan Pickett (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2″), stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell (“Superman Returns”), and four-time Oscar nominated special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Iron Man,” “War of the Worlds”). The editors include Oscar nominated Paul Rubell (“Collateral”) and Jeffrey Ford (“Crazy Heart”).