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Weekend Box Office: The Avengers Sinks Battleship, Deposes The Dictator

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By Chris Kavan - 05/20/12 at 11:54 PM CT

It was a threepeat for The Avengers as the super hero ensemble continued to flex its muscles and shattered more records alone the way.

With a $55 million total, The Avengers was off 46.6% from its second week. It broke the $450 million mark in just 17 days - shattering that record along the way. With just over $457 million total, it also easily passed The Hunger Games to become the highest grossing film of 2012. Other records for the film include holding the highest domestic and worldwide total for any Disney film (surpassing the $423..3 million of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and the $723.3 worldwide gross topping Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End $654 million total). The film currently sits at the sixth-highest grossing film of all time (not adjusting for ticket prices) and should have no problem passing Star Wars in the next 24 hours (as only $3 million separates them).

With the hype for The Avengers still going strong, that meant that the action-packed Battleship had a disappointing opening. With $25.3 million - it was less than the $30 million expected and only the $230 foreign box office total it has brought in will save it from being a John Carter-size mistake. I knew the film would struggle, but I actually thought it was better than advertised. Still, taking a chance of making a film based on a board game is dangerous and casting Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker was also risky and this time it didn't pay off. With a $203 million budget, it won't get anywhere near that mark - expect it to flame out quickly with bigger films on the horizon. It will be lucky to reach $50 million and probably won't even be able to match John Carter's $72 million total.

Coming in third, Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator managed to bring in a decent chunk with $17.4 million. That total is not in the realm of Borat ($26.45 million) or Bruno ($30.6 million) but it's not a complete disaster and consider the film's budget is a manageable $65 million, it should wind up much better than Battleship in terms of grosses. Still, the diminishing returns might mean that Cohen will turn his sights to other, better fare in the cinematic future.

Despite having little genre competition at the box office, ensemble rom-com What to Expect When You're Expecting landed with a thud in fifth place with just $10.5 million. That was even less than the disappointing opening of New Year's Eve ($13 million) and it won't be able to match the recent success of Think Like a Man or The Vow. It appears that audiences just aren't ready to embrace pregnancy-themed comedies (Knocked Up being the exception to the rule).

Rounding out the top five Dark Shadows took a rather steep 57% drop, landing in fourth place in its second weekend with $12.7 million for a $50.9 million total. After a disappointing opening, the drop was expected, but it doesn't make it hurt any less.

In terms of box office success (outside of The Avengers) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actually gained 21.6% from last weekend - and is still playing in just 178 theaters. It took in $3.25 million - good enough for sixth place (up from 8th place last weekend). It now sits at $8.25 million - proving that age still does come before beauty (or at least fancy CGI effects).

Despite losing its 2012 crown, The Hunger Games is trudging ever close to $400 million, bringing in another $3 million in sixth place for a $391.6 million total. I still think it will just squeak by the mark.

Memorial weekend is coming up and Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and newcomer Josh Brolin look to make Men in Black III the top weekend draw and finally knock The Avengers down a peg. Also opening is the somewhat found footage film Chernobyl Diaries and, in limited release, Wes Anderson's sure-to-be-quirky Moonrise Kingdom.


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