Box-Office Preview: Will 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Make History Thursday Night?

To date, the record-holder is the final 'Harry Potter' film, which amassed $43.7 million in midnight grosses.

Get ready for Disney and Marvel Studios' Avengers: Age of Ultron to break more records when landing in North American theaters this weekend.

It's possible that Joss Whedon's superhero sequel could eclipse Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to score the top Thursday night gross of all time. In July 2011, the final Harry Potter film took in $43.5 million in midnight earnings.

Age of Ultron has the advantage of rolling out at 7 p.m. Thursday, versus midnight. Numerous theater circuits, including giant AMC Entertainment, are reporting sold-out shows in scores of locations. In May 2012, The Avengers took in $18.7 million Thursday night on its way to earning $207.4 million for the weekend, the biggest debut of all time at the domestic box office.

Most are betting that Age of Ultron will launch to $210 million or better for the weekend, setting a new threshold for how high a film can open (one tracking service even has it at $224 million).

Last weekend, the sequel opened in 55 percent of the foreign marketplace, grossing a dazzling $201 million and coming in 44 percent ahead of the first film. Through Monday, the movie's foreign total was $219 million.

According to Fandango, presales for Age of Ultron are equal to presales for all previous Marvel films combined, while MovieTickets.com reports that advance sales are nearly four times greater than The Avengers.

The tentpole, costing $250 million to make, returns Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Evans as Captain America and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. The ensemble cast also includes Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle and Paul Bettany. This time, the superheroes and their allies must work together to stop Ultron (James Spader), who intends to destroy the world.

On average, AMC locations are offering two showings of Age of Ultron Thursday night. And on Wednesday night, AMC is hosting a "Marvel Marathon" in four theaters that runs 28 straight hours.

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