The Avengers swoop in with a $200 million rescue for Walt Disney

The Walt Disney company can dry its tears. After dropping $200 million on John Carter earlier this year, its biggest box office flop ever, it pulled in $207 million in America at the weekend - ONE weekend - with the smash hit The Avengers.

The film, based on Marvel Comics superheroes, swept by the previous first weekend record of $169.2 million, set last year by the last instalment of "Harry Potter" .

With $441.5 million already raked in outside America , "The Avengers" worldwide box office total has now climbed to $641.8 million. The film is confidently expected to gross $1 billion worldwide, one of the few movies ever to do that.

Even better: More than half of those who watched it in America on its opening weekend paid extra to see it in 3D.

The science fiction epic "John Carter" led to a $200 million write-down earlier this year, bringing the resignation of studio chairman Rich Ross last month.

"The Avengers," stars Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jermey Renner as Hawkeye, and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.

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