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'Avengers' Smash Box Office Records—Local Comic Experts Saw it Coming

The highest-grossing domestic debut in Hollywood history smashed past the pace set by the final Harry Potter movie, and is on track to have sold $641 million in tickets around the world by the close of business tonight, according to studio estimates gathe

, who was handing out free comic books at midnight Friday morning and all day Saturday, saw it coming.

"Yeah, I think it's going to set box office records," Meyers said Saturday afternoon after he saw the movie and heard the crowd comments at the NoHo Laemmle Theatres. "It's a great movie!"

"The Avengers" smashed past industry expectations and opened with a record $200.3 million in estimated ticket sales this weekend.

The highest-grossing domestic debut in Hollywood history smashed past the pace set by the final Harry Potter movie, and is on track to have sold $641 million in tickets around the world by the close of business tonight, according to studio estimates gathered by Hollywood.com.

"Amazing," said analyst Paul Dergerabedian. "This is the biggest North American opening weekend debut in box office history and sets a new benchmark in what is possible in terms of theatrical revenue generation,"

In a reverse of usual marketing patterns, the Walt Disney Co. opened "The Avengers" first in other countries, to build anticipation and word-of- mouth awareness here. It set opening weekend records in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines, according to the studio.

As late as Saturday morning, industry observers expected "The Avengers" to finish the weekend somewhat below the $169.2 million record set two summers ago by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2."

"The Avengers" sold an estimated $80.5 million in tickets Friday, according to studio estimates reported by Hollywood.com. Dergerabedian said the movie is getting an "A-plus" grade as measured by the Cinemascan service, meaning that patrons who have seen the movie are extremely likely to recommend it to friends, and to see it again.

Through his online company,  BlastoffComics.com, Meyers will continue to offer his rare and collectible comic books at the  around the corner from the new Laemmle complex in North Hollywood.

And not surprising, although he had free comics featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, Spider-Man, Archies and the Fantastic Four, it was The Avengers that most people picked up over the weekend.

"This will be a big new franchise for the movies and the comic book industry," Meyers said.

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