'Avengers' smashes US box office record

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Earth's mightiest comic book heroes smashed North American box office records as "The Avengers" pummeled the competition to haul in $207.4 million on its opening weekend, final figures showed Monday.

Directed by cult favorite Joss Whedon, the Walt Disney high-thrills action adventure made in collaboration with Marvel Comics scored the highest grossing US debut of all time.

Walt Disney said the film, which was released first abroad before hitting US shores, had already raked in some $641.8 million and reports said it was on target to join the elite club of the world's few billion-dollar movies.

"The Avengers" kicked romantic comedy "Think Like A Man" into second place earning $8.1 million, according to Exhibitor Relations. That brings its three-week total to $73 million, the box office tracker said.

Smash action hit "The Hunger Games" remained in third place in its seventh week on the big screen. The movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, earned $5.6 million and has raked in more than $380 million since its opening.

In fourth place was "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," a children's animation film from the studio that produced the "Wallace and Gromit" series earning $5.5 million on its second weekend and moving down from second place.

Tearjerker drama "The Lucky One," an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book starring Zac Efron of "High School Musical" fame as a US soldier back from Iraq, slid to fifth place. The movie made $5.4 million in its third weekend.

"The Five-Year Engagement," starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segel, dropped to sixth place, with $5 million.

Jason Statham action flick "Safe" dropped down from sixth to seventh place with $2.7 million.

"The Raven," starring John Cusack as 19th century American author Edgar Allan Poe, which has had mediocre reviews, dropped to eighth place with $2.6 million.

"Chimpanzee," a true-life, child-friendly adventure about a special chimp in the jungles of Ivory Coast also from the Walt Disney stable, sank to ninth, with $2.5 million.

The Farrelly brothers' comedy "The Three Stooges" rounded out the week's top 10, taking bottom place in its fourth week. The tribute to the legendary US comedy trio brought in $1.8 million.

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