Sony’s Men in Black 3 finally knocked Marvel’s The Avengers off the top of the North American box office chart this weekend, opening over three days with an estimated $55m.

The MIB3 tally - which came from 4,248 theatres, for a per-theatre average of $12,947 - is expected to rise to around $70m by the end of Monday’s Memorial Day US holiday.

The 3D third installment of the action comedy franchise, which reunites stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones with director Barry Sonnenfeld, beat the three-day opening weekend figures of both the 1997 original, which started with $51.1m and went on to take $250.7m domestically, and its 2002 follow up, which kicked off with $52.1m on its way to $190.4m. The first two films, however, opened over five-day July 4 holiday weekends so direct comparisons are difficult.

The new film, which got mostly favourable reviews and was produced by Sony with Amblin Entertainment and P+M Image Nation, reportedly cost $250m to make.

The weekend’s only other new release, the Warner-distributed Chernobyl Diaries, opened in fifth spot with an estimated $8m from 2,433 theatres, for a per-theatre average of $3,288.

Financed by FilmNation Entertainment and acquired for domestic by Alcon Entertainment, the poorly reviewed, Europe-set thriller was produced and co-written by Oren Peli with Bradley Parker directing and Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski and Olivia Dudley starring.

After three weeks on top, Marvel Studios’ The Avengers, distributed by Buena Vista, was down only 34% to an estimated $37m from 3,918 theatres (average - $2,917). The performance pushed the film’s domestic total past the half-billion mark to $513.7m.

In its second weekend, Paramount’s The Dictator was down 45% to an estimated $9.6m, for a total so far of $41.4m.

And Lionsgate’s What To Expect When You’re Expecting, also in its second weekend, was down only 32% to $7.2m, for a total of $22.2m.

Fox Searchlight’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel expanded in its fourth weekend and took an estimated $6.4m from 1,233 theatres (average - $5,150), for a domestic total of $16.6m.

In limited release, Focus Features’ Cannes entry Moonrise Kingdom opened powerfully with an estimated $508,870 from four theatres for an average per theatre of $127,218.

The Weinstein Company’s The Intouchables opened with an estimated $101,100 from four theatres for a per-theatre average of $25,275.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Universal adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, with Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart starring for director Rupert Sanders, and, on around 700 screens, Arc Entertainment’s Mexican period drama For Greater Glory, with Eva Longoria and Andy Garcia starring and Dean Wright directing.


Estimated Top 10 North America May 25-27 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Men in Black 3 (Sony) SPRI $55m -

2 (1) The Avengers (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $37m $513.7m

3 (2) Battleship (Universal) UPI $10.8m $44.3m

4 (3) The Dictator (Paramount) PPI $9.6m $41.4m

5 (-) Chernobyl Diaries (Warner Bros) FilmNation $8m -

6 (4) Dark Shadows (Warner Bros) WBPI $7.5m $63m

7 (5) What To Expect When You’re Expecting (Lionsgate) Lionsgate Int’l $7.2m $22.2m

8 (6) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) Fox Int’l $6.4m $16.6m

9 (7) The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Lionsgate $2.8m $395.2m

10 (8) Think Like A Man (Screen Gems) SPRI $1.4m $88.3m