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Image Credit: Supplied

Internationally, "Endgame" has grossed $487 million, also a record. Fans in China are lapping up the action, all three hours-plus of it. The numbers there have already passed the previous opening weekend record set by "Avengers: Infinity War" with Saturday and Sunday still to come.

"Avengers: Endgame" took in a domestic record of $156.7 million on its first day, including Thursday night previews, and looks set for an all-time high opening this weekend.

$156.7 m

ticket sales posted on the first day of "Avengers: End Game", including Thursday night previews

The previous record was held by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which earned $119 million in 2015.

Disney estimates the weekend grosses in the U.S. and Canada will range between $310 million and $340 million, in line with Box Office Pro and Box Office Mojo forecasts. Exhibitor Relations put the three-day number at $295 million, while the Hollywood Stock Exchange predicts $292 million. Disney, which also owns the Star Wars franchise and is usually cautious with forecasts, had originally suggested an opening weekend in the $300 million range.

The picture, the latest installment from Walt Disney Co.'s Marvel studio, caps a 22-movie storyline that began with "Iron Man" in 2008.

The Avengers superheroes, including Captain America, Hulk and Black Widow, are now battling the intergalactic villain Thanos, who was last seen wiping out half the living creatures in the universe.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

Anything above $258 million will set the record, one established just last year by "Avengers: Infinity War."

-Geetha Ranganathan, senior industry analystClick here to view the piece

"The $60 million taken in from Thursday night previews is the highest ever, and suggests a domestic tally of more than $800 million, with a potential to break $2.5 billion globally. That could also help movie theaters get a boost, potentially offsetting the 17% slump year-to-date."

With this kind of juice, there's every reason to believe "Endgame" will challenge the $2.07 billion worldwide gross of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," set in 2015. Only two other films in Hollywood history have taken in more: "Avatar" in 2009 and "Titanic," released in 1997.

One thing is clear: The Marvel machine has been a huge moneymaker for Disney. Last year's "Infinity War," for example, earned an estimated $985 million in profit, including TV, toys and theater ticket sales.