The Avengers was really the only major success story in May. The blockbuster not only set an opening weekend record, but also had the best second weekend ($103.05 million) and second-highest third ($55.6 million) and fourth ($36.7 million) weekends as well. Through four weeks in theaters, the movie has amassed an incredible $532.5 million at the domestic box office, which is by-far the highest four-week tally ever ahead of The Dark Knight's $454.7 million. In fact, on the first day of June The Avengers is set to pass The Dark Knight's $533.3 million total to become the third-highest-grossing movie ever, and it should finish its run around $600 million.
The best of the rest was MIB 3, which earned $83 million through just seven days in theaters. That's a fine figure, but it's still off from Men in Black II ($99 million) and the first Men in Black ($98.4 million) at the same point (and that's with a decade of ticket price inflation and the addition of 3D).
Dark Shadows placed third with $67 million, which is decent for a gothic horror comedy but not very good for a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration. It is higher than Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street's entire run ($52.9 million), but the movie is going to wind up at a tiny fraction of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
While Dark Shadows was unimpressive, the award for biggest disaster easily goes to Battleship. The board game adaptation earned just $50.3 million through its first two weeks, which is less than star Taylor Kitsch's other 2012 bomb, John Carter, made through the same point ($57.3 million). Battleship could wind up around $70 million, and it's buoyed a bit by decent international grosses, but it's still a huge debacle given its $209 million budget and usually crowd-pleasing alien invasion story.
The Dictator rounded out the Top Five with $46.1 million. That's way behind Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat and a bit off from Bruno, though it could get close to Bruno's $60.05 million total by the end of its run.
The other two major releases from May weren't very successful, either. What to Expect When You're Expecting has only grossed $26.3 million, which pales in comparison to most pregnancy comedies. Oren Peli-produced horror flick Chernobyl Diaries scared up a meager $11.4 million through its first week, which is lower than practically all Summer horror movies.
Aside from The Avengers, the month's other bright spot came from the specialty market. Following three solid weeks in limited release, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel expanded nationwide over Memorial Day and has so far earned $20.9 million. Assuming it holds up well at its current locations, it should finish around $40 million.
Moonrise Kingdom was the other specialty stand-out: Wes Anderson's latest scored the best per-theater average ever for a live action movie ($130,749) when it opened at four theaters over Memorial Day weekend. Considering Anderson's general appeal and Focus Features' expertise with handling such movies, Moonrise should be in for a very healthy box office run.
Year-to-date box office is at $4.34 billion, which is up over 10 percent from the same period last year. It's only running a bit ahead of 2010, though that was a very front-loaded year, and 2012 remains well-positioned to set a new yearly box office record.
• 'Hunger Games' Tops Average April
• March 2012 Easily Sets Record
• 'The Vow,' 'Safe House' Lead Record-Breaking February
• January 2012 Improves on Atrocious Start to 2011
• Sequels, 3D Can't Save 2011
• November Box Office Down Slightly
• Box Office Slows in October
• 'Lion King' Leads Record-Breaking September
• August Box Office Rises and Falls
• July Breaks Box Office Record
• June Sees Box Office Dip
• May Posts Record Gross
• May Calendar Grosses
• 2012 Grosses (2012-only releases)
• Year-to-Date Comparison