Weekend Report: 'MIB 3' Beats 'Avengers' With Solid Memorial Debut
It's not a great start, but MIB 3 got the job done by finally dethroning mega-blockbuster The Avengers over Memorial Day weekend. Chernobyl Diaries also opened, though it barely made a blip on the radar, while Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom had one of the best limited debuts ever. For the four-day weekend the Top 12 earned an estimated $185.3 million, which is off 31 percent from last year when The Hangover Part II and Kung Fu Panda 2 ruled.

For the three-day weekend, MIB 3 opened to $54.6 million, which is Will Smith's third-highest Friday-Sunday debut ever behind I Am Legend ($77.2 million) and Hancock ($62.6 million). That's not really an apples-to-apples statistic, though, given how many of Mr. Smith's bigger movies didn't opened on Friday. For example, Men in Black II opened on a Wednesday and earned $54.9 million through its first three days in theaters. For the four-day weekend, MIB 3 made $69.3 million (11th all-time for Memorial Day weekend), which is a bit lower than Men in Black II's $73.4 million four-day total. Adjusting for 10 years of ticket price inflation and 3D ticket prices, MIB 3's initial attendance was significantly lower than that of Men in Black II.

That being said, the fact that MIB 3 was about on par with Men in Black II from a revenue perspective is somewhat admirable considering it hit theaters nearly 10 years after that very poorly received second entry (5.8 rating on IMDb) sullied the franchise's reputation. The marketing campaign was fairly effective in conveying that the Men in Black are back with a plot that retains the light-hearted vibe of the original movies while adding a new twist to the mix with time travel. The real credit, though, belongs to star Will Smith—his three-year hiatus may have lost him a few fans, but this opening is solid enough to suggest that his box office drawing power isn't too diminished.

Sony is reporting that the audience was 54 percent male and 56 percent over the age of 25, which indicates that families were probably not a huge contributor. The movie received a solid "B+" CinemaScore, which improved to an "A-" among moviegoers under the age of 18.

Sony is not currently reporting a 3D share for MIB 3. The movie did earn an estimated $5.3 million from IMAX 3D presentations at 278 locations.

While it had to settle for second place, The Avengers was still very impressive this weekend. For the four-day weekend, the superhero team-up eased 15 percent to $46.9 million. It's three-day gross was $36.7 million, which is the second-highest fourth weekend ever behind Avatar's $50.3 million. On Saturday, the movie set a new record by crossing the $500 million mark in just 23 days. Through Monday, The Avengers has earned $523.9 million, and will pass The Dark Knight ($533.3 million) by Friday to move in to third place on the all-time domestic chart.

Battleship crashed in its second outing—the board game adaptation fell 45 percent to $13.9 million for the four-day weekend. It's now made $47.4 million, which is a fraction of recent Hasbro adaptations and is even off from star Taylor Kitsch's John Carter ($54.3 million) through the same point.

The Dictator fared better, dipping 34 percent to $11.5 million. Still, that hold doesn't portend a lengthy box office run for the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy, which has now earned $43.3 million.

After getting hit pretty hard in its second weekend, Dark Shadows leveled out a bit in its third outing by easing 25 percent to $9.4 million. Its 18-day total of $64.9 million isn't very good, though at least the movie passed Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ($52.9 million) last week.

Continued with 'Chernobyl Diaries,' 'Moonrise Kingdom,' 'The Intouchables' & More... >

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Last Weekend

'Battleship' Drowns Under Weight of 'Avengers'

This Weekend in Past Years:

• 2011 - 'Hangover' Gets Higher with Sequel, 'Panda' Loses Weight
• 2010 - 'Sex,' 'Prince' Deserted as 'Shrek' Leads Weak Memorial Weekend

• 2009 - 'Night at the Museum,' 'Terminator' Dominate

• 2008 - 'Indy' Whips Up Massive Start

• 2007 - Third 'Pirates' Sacks Memorial Record

• 2006 - 'X-Men' Marvels with Memorial Record

• 2005 - 'Star Wars' Edges Out Computerized Critters and Secondhand Convicts

Related Charts

Weekend Box Office Results

All-Time Domestic

• All-Time Fourth Weekends

• All-Time Fastest to $500 Million