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Avengers ticket pre-sales top all prior Marvel movies … combined

The Avengers, Marvel’s upcoming comic book-based film that combines the company’s most-beloved heroes into a single fighting force, hits theaters across the US on May 4. Ever since it was announced, the film has kept fans in a state of frothing anticipation. Not just because the film sees Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and Black Widow joining forces with Nick Fury to combat evil. Nor merely because the flick is being helmed by geek-favorite director Joss Whedon. It isn’t even because the movie is the culmination of Marvel’s impressive, decade-plus-long attempt at translating the past half-century of its beloved histrionic, action-packed comic lore to a brand-new, mainstream media segment.

No, the movie’s impending box office success is a culmination of all of these things, and the fact that you can’t swing a dead Skrull without hitting an enticing advertisement for the flick.

None of this is all that surprising either. From the moment the movie was announced, it was assumed that The Avengers would be a blockbuster hit. The only question was just how successful the flick would be. If ticket pre-sales are any indication, the answer to that question is “massively, insanely, hugely successful.”

According to a Deadline Hollywood report, pre-sales for tickets of The Avengers have now topped pre-release ticket sales of every other Marvel Studios comic book film to date. To be more specific, The Avengers has pre-sold more tickets than all of Marvel Studios’ past efforts combined. That includes 2008′s Iron Man, 2010′s Iron Man 2, 2011′s Captain America: The First Avenger and 2011′s Thor. “… pre-sales are over 1 1/2-times that of these past Marvel films combined sales at the same point in the sales cycle,” claims online ticket broker MovieTickets.com.

For even more perspective on the situation, Deadline offers a per-movie breakdown of these films’ individual ticket pre-sale tallies. “Avengers is selling 3,995% more tickets than Captain America, 1,034% more tickets than Thor, 114% more tickets than Iron Man 2, and 1,406% more tickets than Iron Man at the same point in the sales cycle,” the reports states.

Intriguingly, these ticket sales aren’t impressive purely by volume. As is the current trend, The Avengers will see release in both standard 2D format, and as a 3D release. Though the three-dimensional gimmick seems to be losing its luster in the eyes of the average moviegoer, Deadline reports that 56 percent of those pre-sold tickets are for 3D screenings of the film, and that 37 percent are for top-of-the-line IMAX 3D screenings. Since the presence of 3D technology allows theaters to charge, on average, 50 percent greater ticket prices, those massive pre-sale figures aren’t just impressive in their own right, they also indicate that the profits pulled down by Marvel’s latest film will be truly astronomical.

The only question left now is how The Avengers will stack up against the recent spate of romantic fantasy films that have dominated the box office over the past half-decade. Can the World’s Mightiest Heroes top sparkly, lovelorn vampires? We’re praying to the ghost of Jack Kirby that the answer is “yes.”