'The Avengers' is expected to increase its worldwide box-office takings to $350-$400 million following its U.S. release this weekend. Marvel's superhero movie should obliterate the competition at the box-office and could take $160 million in North America alone.

Joss Whedon's all-action flick could surpass the $152 million taken by recent blockbuster 'The Hunger Games', but it probably has another big-budget movie in its sights. Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises' is expected to be one of the biggest movie releases of the year and studio bosses will probably be disappointed should it not finish the year as the No.1 grossing film. Back in 2008, Nolan's 'The Dark Knight - featuring an Oscar winning performance from Heath Ledger - grossed $158 million during its first week of release. If the latest Batman movie were to replicate that figure, it would certainly put itself in the running for biggest film of the year, though the Avengers is almost certain to be hot on its coattails. It's likely that 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2' will remain the biggest opener of all time once 2012 is over - the film took $169.2 million in its first week of release last year.

The Avengers has taken a huge $218 million in foreign markets so far, and will no doubt make hundreds of million through DVD sales. However, Whedon and Nolan will both be looking to secure the title of box-office King come the end of the year.