Captain America has beaten back the Red Skull, HYRDA, Nazis and various nefarious forces before, and now the shield-slinging star-spangled hero has conquered the box office, as well.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" debuted with an estimated $65.8 million over the weekend to become the #1 movie in North America, according to studio estimates. With Chris Evans in the title role and Hugo Weaving as his arch-nemesis, the Red Skull, the Marvel movie was the latest chapter in a series of films that began with "Iron Man" and will lead up to next year's "The Avengers."
Cap's debut bested that of his fellow Avenger "Thor" (which opened with $65.7 million) as well as the debuts of previous 2011 superhero movies "Green Lantern" and "X-Men: First Class." Only 40 percent of the Cap audience chose to see it in 3-D versus the 60 percent who saw "Thor" that way back in May.
Meanwhile the latest "Harry Potter" — which broke several records on its opening weekend — suffered a huge decline during its second weekend of release. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" took in $48 million (for a $274.1 million total), which was a 72 percent second-weekend fall, much steeper than that of "The Dark Knight," "Spider-Man 3" and the third "Pirates of the Caribbean."
"Friends With Benefits" was the #3 movie in North America with an $18.5 million opening. Starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, the movie's plot is similar to the Ashton Kutcher/ Natalie Portman romantic comedy "No Strings Attached," which opened with $19.7 million back in January.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" was #4 with $12 million for a $325.7 million total while dark comedy "Horrible Bosses" was #5 with $11.7 million for an $82.4 million total.
Next weekend's new releases include "Cowboys and Aliens," "The Smurfs" and "Crazy, Stupid, Love."
Check out everything we've got on "Captain America: The First Avenger."