4 May 2012 3:39 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

The Avengers (Scarlett Johansson photo right) earned an estimated $18.7 million from about 2,500 Thursday midnight screenings in North America. Ignoring inflation and the box-office-boosting effect of 3D/IMAX surcharges — $1.3m came from 273 IMAX screens — that places The Avengers at no. 8 on the list of biggest domestic midnight debuts. For comparison’s sake: without the assistance of 3D, Gary Ross / Jennifer Lawrence’s The Hunger Games opened with $19.7m at 2,565 locations (including 270 IMAX) in March, while Christopher Nolan / Christian Bale’s The Dark Knight took in $18.5m at 3,040 screenings (including 94 IMAX) in summer 2008. In fact, in number of midnight ticket sales, The Dark Knight remains ahead of both The Avengers and The Hunger Games – even without taking 3D/IMAX surcharges into account. After all, The Dark Knight’s $18.5m would translate into more than $20m today. The biggest midnight debut by far is that of David Yates / Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 »

- Zac Gille

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