Saturday, August 18, 2012

The federal space agents from "Men In Black 3" toppled "The Avengers" over the ... - Detroit Free Press

"The Avengers" finally met a foe they couldn't vanquish: the U.S. government.

The federal space agents from "Men In Black 3" toppled "The Avengers" over the Memorial Day weekend, ending the superheroes' three-week reign over the box office.

"MIB3," which reunited Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, collected $70 million over the long weekend, according to studio estimates from box office trackers

The debut met the lower end of expectations, but it was enough to thwart the comic-book adaptation, which took second place with $46.9 million over the holiday. The movie has collected $523.6 million since its May 4 release.

Despite analysts' expectations, the victory of "MIB3" was no mean feat, says Gitesh Pandya of Box Office Guru.

"Rejuvenating a franchise after a decade-long absence was a challenge," he says. "As was attracting audiences when The Avengers is doing so well with action-hungry audiences."

The third installment of the comedy franchise scored respectable numbers from critics and fans. About 67% of critics gave the movie a thumbs-up, compared with 78% of audiences, according to pollsters Rotten Tomatoes. The movie scored earned a B-plus from audiences, including an A-minus from moviegoers 18 and younger, according to CinemaScore.

John Hamann of Box Office Prophets says that while "MIB3" didn't set the box office on fire, it "didn't out-and-out collapse the way 'Battleship' did" when it debuted last week, taking second with a disappointing $25.5 million.

Hamann notes that "MIB3" took in more in its first three days ($55 million) than the original did in 1997 ($51 million) and the 2002 sequel ($52 million). Of course, he says, higher ticket prices mean those films saw bigger initial attendance, if not grosses.

"Battleship" took third place with $13.8 million, followed by the comedy "The Dictator" with $11.8 million. The Johnny Depp comedy "Dark Shadows" was fifth with $9.4 million.

The only other major newcomer, the horror film "Chernobyl Diaries," didn't shake much up at the cineplex, mustering sixth place with $9.3 million. Final figures are due Tuesday.

Ticket sales are slowing but remain ahead of last year, according to Revenues are up 11% over the same time last year, while attendance is up 14%

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