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Weekend Box-Office: May 18-20, 2012

Battleship behind Avengers!

As the SHIELD helicarrier again takes Marvel's heroes (including Scarlett's backside there) from the ocean into the clouds, the costly new board game adaptation BATTLESHIP is taking on water.

For the third week in a row, THE AVENGERS saved the world and scored big bucks in the process, bringing in another $55 million and hitting a domestic total of $457M. Excelsior!

But that's just a slice of the super-sized success. THE AVENGERS has gathered a knockout global total of $1.18 BILLION, which means it has soared to #4 on the all-time worldwide box office chart, zooming past TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, LOTR: RETURN OF THE KING, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST and ON STRANGER TIDES, TOY STORY 3 and STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Only HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS Pt. 2 now stands between Tony Stark's colleagues and Cameron's twosome of TITANIC and AVATAR, at $2.1B and $2.7B respectively. (For you Batfans, THE DARK KNIGHT is down in #12 with just a bit over $1B worldwide.)

As for BATTLESHIP, Universal must have been somewhat prepared for a boat-based blockbuster to attract the negative nautical puns (BATTLESHIP gets torpedoed, you sank my BATTLESHIP, etc.). But with the marketing basically presenting it like an unofficial TRANSFORMERS sequel, they surely expected more than its $25.3 million debut.

But the movie has already netted around $230M from international crowds, who've had several weeks to see the flick before it docked in the US. And while that might make the reported $209M production budget a little easier to swallow, it's probably not making star Taylor Kitsch feel much better between this soggy domestic performance and the even more expensive thunk of JOHN CARTER. We'll see if that Navy SEALs project with Kitsch and BATTLESHIP director Peter Berg ever comes together now...

Although the prospect of a BATTLESHIP-AVENGERS showdown didn't really occur, a couple of other new movies also didn't make much of an impression against Marvel's all-stars. Sacha Baron Cohen's latest comedy THE DICTATOR only commanded a $17.4M weekend pull, and a $24.4M total since its Wednesday release. That's well below BRUNO's $30.6M opening and even BORAT's surprise $26.4M debut, but THE DICTATOR came with a $65M price tag, so it should be interesting to see where Cohen goes next.

Lionsgate attempted some blockbuster counterprogramming with WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING, but the pregnancy comedy only hatched $10.5 million despite leading ladies like Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Elizabeth Banks. Fox Searchlight must be delighted with their own counterprogramming entry, the seniors-in-India comedy THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, which despite being on only 178 screens still landed a sixth place finish (and the highest per-screen average in the Top 10).

Johnny Depp's DARK SHADOWS is proving to be toothless, edging into the blackness with just another $12.7M in its second weekend (a 57% drop). But Katniss Everdeen continues to display her survival skills -- after nine weeks on the chart, THE HUNGER GAMES is holding stronger than other newer releases such as THINK LIKE A MAN, THE LUCKY ONE and THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS, while THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT and CHIMPANZEE disappear from the list.

Next week's long Memorial Day holiday weekend brings back agents Jay and Kay (and young Kay) in MEN IN BLACK 3, plus the horror movie CHERNOBYL DIARIES from PARANORMAL ACTIVITY guy Oren Peli, and the limited release of Wes Andersons MOONRISE KINGDOM. Do you plan to see MIB3 next weekend? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. The Avengers $55 M $457 M
2. Battleship $25.3 M
NEW
3. The Dictator $17.4 M $24.4 M
4. Dark Shadows $12.7 M $50.9 M
5. What to Expect When You're Expecting $10.5 M
NEW
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $3.2 M $8.2 M
7. The Hunger Games $3 M $391.6 M
8. Think Like a Man $2.7 M $85.8 M
9. The Lucky One $1.7 M $56.9 M
10. The Pirates! Band of Misfits $1.4 M $25.3 M

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Source: Box Office Mojo

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