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'The Avengers' torpedoes 'Battleship' with $55M for box-office three-peat

By Todd Cunningham

"The Avengers" powered to another $55.1 million to claim its third consecutive box office crown, leaving Universal's pricey sea saga "Battleship" in its wake with soggy $25.3 million.

Find: More 'Avengers' to come?

Marvel's star-studded superhero mashup passed "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" to become Disney's highest grossing film of all time. It added $56 million from overseas and now has a worldwide gross of $1.18 billion, fourth-highest ever.

Universal had hoped for more from "Battleship," which had built momentum coming into its U.S. bow by steaming to $220 million overseas in five weeks. That will help offset its $209 million production budget, but the disappointing domestic bow likely ends any talk of a sequel.

"It's disappointing," Nikki Rocco, distribution president for Universal Pictures, told TheWrap Sunday, "but you have to look at the picture globally, and from that standpoint, we're OK."

Also on TheWrap: 7 Hidden Gems in the Summer Movie Season

The film added $6.5 million overseas this weekend, to raise its international total to $226.8 million.

"Battleship," which averaged $6,870 per theater from its 3,690 locations, skewed older, with 55 percent of the audience over 30 years of age. It received a B CinemaScore from moviegoers, 57 percent of whom were male.

The underwhelming bow of "Battleship" gives Taylor Kitsch the dubious distinction of starring in two of the summer's major domestic misfires, having also starred in Disney's disastrous "John Carter."

Peter Berg ("Hancock")  produced with Scott Stuber and directed the action epic  based on the classic Hasbro board game -- with an extra-terrestrial twist  -- in which a naval fleet battles an invading alien armada. Besides Kitsch, Rihanna, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard and Brooklyn Decker star.

Also: What did the critics think?

"Battleship" is the first movie based on a board game since the forgettable "Clue" in 1985, but a handful are on the way. Universal has scaled back the budget on "Ouija" but still plans a 2013 release. "Risk" and "Candyland"  projects are in development at Sony.

Paramount's Sacha Baron Cohen spoof "The Dictator" pulled in $17.4 million over the weekend from 3,008 locations for third. The movie, which opened Wednesday, has made $24.4 million domestically.

The foreign numbers suggest the film may makes its best money overseas. It took in $30.3 million from 29 markets, including $7.3 million from the U.K.

At No. 4 was Warner Bros.' "Dark Shadows," took in $12.7 million from 3,755 locations in its second week, raising the overall domestic gross for the Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration to $50.9 million.

The weekend's other wide opener was Lionsgate's "What to Expect When You're Expecting." The ensemble romantic comedy toplined by Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz delivered a not-so-bouncing $10.5 million from 3,021 locales.

A surprising No. 6 was Fox Searchlight's "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," which grossed $3.25 million from just 354 locales. The tale of Brit retirees in India has now rung up an $8.2 million domestic cume in 17 days.

"Think Like A Man," the Sony film that "The Avengers" dethroned three weeks ago, took in an estimated  $2.7 million over the weekend to raise its U.S. gross to $85.8 million.

"The Avengers" will be tested next week, when Sony rolls out "Men in Black 3."

1. "Marvel's The Avengers," $55.1 million
2. "Battleship," $25.3 million
3. "The Dictator," $17.4 million
4. "Dark Shadows,' $12.7 million
5. "What to Expect When You're Expecting," $10.5 million
6. "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," $3.2 million
7. "The Hunger Games," $3 million
8. "Think Like a Man," $2.7 million
9. "The Lucky One," $1.7 million
10. "Pirates! Band of Misfits," $1.5 million

Also on TheWrap:
5 Things You Need to Know About 'The Avengers' If You Don't Read Comic Books
'The Dictator' Racial Stereotypes Trouble Arab-Americans

May 20, 2012 12:26PM
Here's hoping Avengers keeps going until it hits highest worldwide gross.
I can't think of any film more deserving, You Rock Joss Whedon!
May 20, 2012 11:42AM
Making Dark Shadows a comedy was a major turn off for me and many others; did not bother to go see it on the big screen. If they had made it a horror flick like it was intended, it might have made more money but guess we will never know.
May 20, 2012 11:44AM
25.3 Million?! mWah hah hah!!! Maybe next time you'll think twice before making a stupid **** movie based on a frickin' board game!!
May 20, 2012 1:03PM
I stopped reading when he wrote the forgettable clue.  Clue is still my favorite comedy.  The writer is a ****.
May 20, 2012 12:17PM
I go to LOTS of movies & Hollyweird is really out of touch. They spend tons of money & still wind up with garbage.  They don't even know when the best time to release movies either. Dark Shadows could & should have been SO much better. They had all the pieces, but put it together all wrong. To bad. Hollywood is filled with "lifers" who need to go away & make room for new talent. To many CRUSTY old actors & actresses... John Travolta any one !!!!
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