Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has taken $424m (£300m) at the box office worldwide in its first five days despite poor reviews.
The global total – the fourth-highest ever – included $170.1m in the United States, a record for a March debut and the sixth-highest US opening weekend.
Dawn of Justice took £15.5m in the UK – also a record for March.
The film bringing the two superheroes together for the first time is a welcome success for Warner Bros.
The studio has been hit by a series of expensive failures such as Jupiter Ascending and Pan in recent months.
The DC Comics adaptation, which cost more than $250m to make, was Warner Bros’ second-highest international opening after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
The BBC’s Mark Kermode described it as a “crushing disappointment”, while Kate Muir wrote in The Times: “This superhero-smorgasbord melts into an electric soup of CGI.”
Jeff Goldstein, head of distribution for Warner Bros, said: “There was a disconnect there between what critics wrote and the fan interest and the fan response.”
The film had been widely praised by fans after its first screening in New York in mid-March, but received less glowing reviews from critics.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said: “It proves that the concept is bigger than negative reviews. There was no way that if you’re a comic book fan or just a movie fan that you’re going to miss out on a match-up of such iconic characters. Audiences have to see the movie for themselves.”
Dawn of Justice opened on more than 40,000 screens in 66 markets, including 16,000 in China, 4,242 in the US, 1,701 in the UK and 1,696 in South Korea.
“It’s the fans that speak the loudest,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. “It proves how strong these characters are.”
The Zack Snyder-directed film, starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavil, is the first of 10 DC Comics adaptations planned by Warner Bros over the next five years, including Wonder Woman and the Flash.
The first, Suicide Squad, will hit the big screen in August.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens still holds the record for the biggest box office debut weekend globally, with ticket sales of $529m (£355m) in December, including $248m in the US.
Last weekend’s top film, the animal animation Zootopia – known in the UK as Zootropolis – was pushed into second place by Batman v Superman, taking $23.1m (£16.3m) in the US.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, starring and written by Nia Vardalos, who was behind the first, hugely successful film, came in third place with a respectable $18.1m (£12.7m).
But teen sci-fi film The Divergent Series: Allegiant fell 67% in its second weekend with just $9.5m (£6.7m), tying with faith-based drama Miracles from Heaven.
Drone thriller Eye in the Sky, whose cast includes Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman, took $1m (£705,000) in its third week, while Hank Williams drama I Saw the Light, starring Tom Hiddleston, took $50,464 (£35,599) on just five screens.