Los Angeles - Iron Man and his fellow avengers are off to a solid start as they bring their save-the-world act to US theatres.
The Avengers launched domestically early on Friday with $18.7m from midnight screenings. That puts it at No 8 all-time for midnight debuts, just behind the $19.7m start for The Hunger Games in March.
But it's well under half the amount for the No 1 midnight draw, $43.5m for last year's Harry Potter finale. That film went on to the biggest domestic opening weekend ever, with $169.2m.
While The Avengers started modestly compared with the last Harry Potter flick, it still may end up among the top weekend openings ever. The Hunger Games followed its midnight start with a $152.3m debut weekend.
Produced by Disney's Marvel Studios unit, The Avengers already is a blockbuster overseas, where it opened last week in 39 markets.
Disney reported that through Thursday, The Avengers had taken in $304 million internationally.
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