Sorry, British wizards. It's time for an all-American hero to reign at the box office.
'Captain America: The First Avenger' opened at No. 1 with an estimated $65.8 million, dethroning 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2' and beating fellow Marvel flick 'Thor' by a hair for bragging rights to the biggest superhero movie debut of the summer. In its second week, 'Potter' plunged 72 percent to an estimated $48.1 million, still a weekend take that most movies would kill for.
A close race was expected this weekend between the 'Avengers' franchise launcher and the 'Potter' franchise farewell. Both movies were expected to earn anywhere from $50 to $65 million, with a lot of variables in play. Both films are playing in 2D and 3D versions, both are riding strong waves of promotional hype and positive word-of-mouth and both seem to have all-ages appeal. Plus, a sharp drop-off for 'Potter' was inevitable after last week's multiple record-breaking opening, while anticipation for 'Captain America' has been building for at least three years.