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40% of People Who Saw The Avengers Were…

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The Avengers is breaking records all over the place, and not just in the ways that people expect.

In addition to the groundbreaking opening ticket sales estimate of more than $200 million domestically, The Avengers has earned more than $440 million worldwide. According to Box Office Mojo, that brings the grand total to $641.8 million.

But while record-breaking earnings are common for big-budget summer blockbusters, the real surprises rarely have anything to do with dollar signs. That is definitely the case here. According to MSNBC, polling data shows that a whopping 40% of The Avengers' moviegoers were women.

Considering how well the film performed as a date-night flick (55% of ticket buyers were part of couples, MSNBC reports), that statistic might not be too surprising. However, while the previous comic book leaders -- such as The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3 -- came to the theaters with a legion of predecessors in film and other entertainment mediums, The Avengers is only just beginning to make its way into mainstream media. But that didn't stop moviegoers from lining up to see the film, which featured the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.

What is surprising, however, is that families accounted for just 24% of tickets sold. With a mainstream push rivaling Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, kids were heavily exposed to The Avengers. And unlike other films that feature multiple superheroes, The Avengers is true to its special effects-covered trailer, providing audiences with an endless array of visual treats. If there has ever been a comic book film that has the potential to appeal equally to kids and adults, this is it.

Among those who saw The Avengers last weekend, MSNBC reports that more than half opted for the 3D edition. Ticket prices for 3D films retail for an average of $2 to $3 more at most movie theaters; those who selected the IMAX (NASDAQ: IMAX) version paid an additional fee on top of that. While IMAX ticket sales accounted for just $15 million of The Avengers' domestic total, the higher ticket price is part of the reason why this and other new films are able to continue breaking new records. Movie theaters aren't necessarily selling more tickets -- they're just selling tickets at more expensive prices.

In fact, Box Office Mojo's list of all-time box office opening weekends reveals that The Avengers opened on fewer screens (4,349) than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (4,375), The Dark Knight (4,366) and Iron Man 2 (4,380). Despite this, The Avengers still became the film with the highest-grossing opening weekend in U.S. history.

This is huge for Disney (NYSE: DIS), which paid a hefty $4 billion to acquire Marvel in 2009. Many believed that Disney wanted Marvel to counter balance its animation business, which largely serves the female market with a host of princesses, but fails to reach young boys. At that time, X-Men and Spider-Man were touted as the primary reasons for Disney's acquisition. But it looks as though The Avengers may become the leading source of profit for the studio.

That said, Disney is contractually obligated to share the love. According to Variety, Paramount Pictures -- which was originally slated to distribute The Avengers -- will take home a minimum of $115 million. Those earnings count for two films, The Avengers and the forthcoming Iron Man 3. But it's still a painful loss to Disney, which has poured all of the money -- and all of the risk -- into making The Avengers a financial success.

Regardless, Disney is on its way to having a record-breaking season, with its next film, the Pixar-produced Brave, due on June 22.

The studio's biggest competition comes from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) and Sony (NYSE: SNE), whose respective comic book movies, The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man, will be released this summer. DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA), Pixar's only noteworthy competitor, will release the third Madagascar flick, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, early next month.

Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ

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