Friday Report: 'MIB 3' Takes Top Spot from 'Avengers'
After dominating the charts for three straight weeks, The Avengers yielded the top spot on Friday to MIB 3. Will Smith's return to the big-screen was well-attended, albeit not quite at the level of the previous Men in Black movies, and looks to be on pace for a Memorial Day weekend north of $70 million. Horror movie Chernobyl Diaries also debuted, though as expected it didn't have much of an impact.

MIB 3 opened to an estimated $18 million on Friday, which is about on par with Men in Black II's $18.6 million, and also close to the $18.9 million the first Men in Black earned between its opening day and some evening shows the day before. Of course, those movies opened in 2002 and 1997, and weren't in 3D, so MIB 3's initial attendance pales in comparison. The movie earned a "B+" CinemaScore (which improved to an "A-" for the under-18 crowd), and it could wind up as high as $80 million for the four-day weekend.

Facing its toughest competition yet, The Avengers remarkably only fell 36 percent to $9.68 million on Friday. The box office phenomenon has now earned $486.4 million through just 22 days in theaters, and could pass $500 million today.

Chernobyl Diaries opened in third place yesterday with an estimated $3.54 million. That's obviously nowhere near producer Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity movies, but it's also off from recent early Summer horror movies like The Strangers ($7.7 million) and Drag Me to Hell ($6.4 million). It even made a tad less than 28 Weeks Later ($3.9 million), though at least it debuted higher than Splice ($2.7 million). The movie should wind up with over $10 million for the four-day weekend, though it might not go much higher.

The combined force of MIB 3 and The Avengers appears to have completely sunk Battleship: the board game adaptation plummeted 66 percent to an estimated $3 million on Friday. Through eight days, the movie has made just $36.5 million.

The Dictator didn't hang on well either. The Sacha Baron Cohen comedy dropped 52 percent to an estimated $2.78 million, and through 10 days has earned $34.6 million. Easing 43 percent to $2.2 million, What to Expect When You're Expecting had the best hold among last week's openers. That's a minor consolation, though, considering the movie has only made $17.2 million so far.

After earning $10.2 million in three weeks of limited release, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel expanded to 1,233 theaters and took eighth place with $1.67 million. The British comedy has now earned $11.9 million.

In limited release, international sensation The Intouchables opened to a fine $28,700 at four theaters. There are reports out that have Wes Anderson's latest movie Moonrise Kingdom earning over $170,000 from the same number of theaters, which would put it on pace for one of the highest opening weekend averages ever, but Focus Features is not currently providing Friday estimates.

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Grosses for Friday, May 25, 2012