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Memorial Weekend Box Office: MIB III Zaps The Avengers; Moonrise Kingdom New Limited Champ

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By Chris Kavan - 05/28/12 at 01:39 PM CT

It seems audiences weren't put off by the ten-year gap between Men in Black films, as Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin blasted their way to the top of the box office.

Taking in $55 million, it was the third-best thee day total for Will Smith behind I Am Legend ($77.2 million) and Hancock ($62.6 million). Through all four days, the film earned $70 million - just behind $73.4 million total of Men in Black II - and due to higher prices, it also trails in attendance. Still, this third outing is generating considerably more positive buzz than the lackluster second entry, awarding is a B+ score (an A- for those 18 and younger). While some had been hoping for $90 million plus opening, the fact that it has been ten long years, not to mention three years since Smith himself has been on screen, this total has to be considered a solid, if unremarkable, opening.

Don't feel too bad for The Avengers, however. It eased off a light 16% over the four days, bringing in another $46.9 million and, along with way, it became the fastest film to reach the $500 million total (23 days) easily topping Avatar's 32 day tally. It trailed only Avatar in the best fourth week total and it now stands at $523.6 million and should pass The Dark Knight this week to move up to third on the domestic box office chart.

The week's other new wide release, Chernobyl Diaries, couldn't find the success of previous low-budget "found footage" films. Opening in sixth place with $9.3 million over the holiday weekend. It's three-day total of $7.9 million also trailed recent summer horror films Orphan ($12.9 million), 28 Weeks Later ($9.8 million) and Apollo 18 ($8.7 million). Like Apollo 18 before it, it just goes to show that not all films in this genre are a guaranteed hit, despite what Paranormal Activity and Devil Inside may have you think.

Rounding out the top five: Battleship took a nosedive from its disappointing opening by crashing over 46% for a $13.7 million, 3rd-place total. The film has brought in just $47.2 million over two weeks and is now running behind John Carter ($54.3 million) through the same point and even a robust international take can't ease that pain.

The Dictator was off a lighter 32.6% and dropped to fourth place with $11.75 million for a $43.6 million total. It will have to work hard to surpass Bruno ($60.05 million) and make back its reported $65 million budget (not including whatever all those wacky hijinks promoting the film cost).

Dark Shadows rounds out the top five with a $9.4 million take in its third week. Though the film has only made $64.88 million, it did manage to move past Sweeney Todd's $52.9 million, so it won't be the lowest-grossing Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration.

The week's biggest winner, however, has to be Wes Anderson. The quirky director's Moonrise Kingdom only opened in a four theaters, but if the numbers hold, the $523,000 total (with a per-theater average of $130,750) would break the record for a live-action film, topping Dreamgirls current $126,316 total. It would also easily top The Royal Tenenbaums limited opening of $276,981 to become Anderson's best opening. With rave reviews and those numbers, hopefully it will have no trouble expanding nationwide in the next month so that I myself can judge the film.

This coming Friday, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron put a new twist on a classic fairytale in Snow White and the Huntsman, after a bunch of false starts Piranha 3DD tries to take another bit out of the box office and yet another group of misfit dancers tries to win the day in Battlefield America.

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