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Domestically, “The Avengers” at $457.1 million is No. 6 all-time but will quickly pass “Star Wars: Episode I _ The Phantom Menace” ($474.5 million) and the original “Star Wars” ($460.9 million) to take the No. 4 spot.

“Avatar” is No. 1 domestically at $760.5 million, followed by “Titanic” at $658.5 million and “The Dark Knight” at $533.3 million.

Factoring in today’s higher admission prices, many older movies sold more tickets than “The Avengers,” which also has a price advantage because of the extra few dollars it costs to see the 3-D version.

But the Marvel Comics superhero ensemble has proved an overwhelming lure, drawing in all audience segments and packing in some fans who are seeing it over and over.

“It’s a contagious thing that gets not just them back, but their friends back to see it again,” said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. “I’m always happy to see a friendly competition among friends to see who can see the movie the most times.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “The Avengers,” $55.1 million ($56 million international).

2. “Battleship,” $25.4 million ($6.5 million international).

3. “The Dictator,” $17.4 million ($30.3 million international).

4. “Dark Shadows,” $12.8 million ($30.4 million international).

5. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” $10.5 million.

6. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” $3.3 million ($1.8 million international).

7. “The Hunger Games,” $3 million ($1.5 million international).

8. “Think Like a Man,” $2.7 million.

9. “The Lucky One,” $1.8 million ($2.7 million international).

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