By Todd Cunningham
"Snow White and the Huntsman" scored a box-office bull's-eye, hauling in a better-than-expected $56.3 million to top the U.S. box office.
The dark fantasy epic, starring "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, had $14,910 average on 3,773 theaters.
The strong opening was good news for Universal, which had seen its last tentpole release, "Battleship," founder at the box office. The stakes were high for the studio: "Snow White" has a production budget estimated at $170 million an the studio has already committed to developing a sequel, which will get a kick-start from the big debut.
"From the get-go, the intention was to market this film as way more than 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,'" Universal president of distribution Nikki Rocco told TheWrap Sunday.
"Everbody, from the cast and crew to the marketing department did a great job of delivering that message, and the film did, too."
The plot features an empowered Snow, having learned the arts of war from The Huntsman (Hemsworth) sent to kill her, leading a revolution against the Queen (Theron). With its darker theme, audiences plainly had no problem differentiating the PG-13 rated tale from "Mirror, Mirror," the Julia Roberts fantasy comedy that Relativity released in March.
Reviews: What did the critics think?
The big opening for "Snow White and Huntsman" showed Stewart, in her first
major film role since "Twilight," was a box-office presence.
The film made $20.6 million Friday and another $21.3 million Saturday. The audiences skewed female and slightly older, with 53 percent women and 52 percent were over 30. The gave the film a B CinemaScore.
The No. 2 film, Sony's "Men in Black 3" held solidly, taking in $29.3
million from 4,248 locations for the weekend and lifting its overall domestic
gross to $112.3 million. There was more good news from overseas: "MIB 3" took in
$78.6 million to up its international gross to $274.6 million and its worldwide
figure to $386.9 million
Disney's "The Avengers" continued to break records.
It took in $20.2 million from 3,670 locations in its fifth week, lifting its overall domestic gross to $552.7 million. That puts it in front of "The Dark Knight" ($533M) as the No. 3 U.S. film all-time.
The Marvel superhero saga also became the third-biggest grosser ever at the
worldwide box office at $1.355 billion, passing "Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows, Part 2" ($1.328B).
"Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" continued to be a pleasant surprise for Fox Searchlight, marking its fourth week in the top ten. The movie grossed $4.6 million for the weekend from 1,294 theaters -- a drop of just 25 percent from last week. That raised its overall domestic gross to $25.4 million, and its global figure to $106.7 million.
Paramount's "The Dictator" brought in $4.7 million at 2,649 locations in its third week to up its U.S. gross to $50.8 million.
"For Greater Glory," which chronicles Mexico's Cristeros War of the 1920s, opened to $1.8 million for distributor Arc Entertainment.
The week's other wide opener, "Piranha 3DD" from Dimension, was toothless, taking $179,000 from 86 locations.
"Moonrise Kingdom," Wes Anderson tale of tween love, continued to impress for Focus Features. The opening film at this year's Cannes film festival took in $848,681 after expanding from four to 16 theaters, for an eye-popping per-screen average of $53,043.
"Snow White" will be tested next week. "Prometheus," the Ridley Scott sci-fi epic from Fox, bows in the U.S. on Friday. It debuted overseas in 15 regions and was No. 1 in 14 of them, taking in $35 million.
Here's how the top 10 movies fared:
1. "Snow White and the Huntsman," $56.3 million
2. "Men in Black 3," $29.3 million
3. "The Avengers," $20.3 million
4. "Battleship," $4.8 million
5. "The Dictator," $4.7 million
6. "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," $4.6 million
7. "What to Expect When You're Expecting," $4.4 million
8. "Dark Shadows," $3.8 million
9. "Chernobyl Diaries," $3 million
10." For Greater Glory," $1.8 million
"The big opening for "Snow White and Huntsman" showed Stewart, in her first major film role since "Twilight," was a box-office presence."
I completely disagree with the above quote -- Stewart is a nobody. Charlize Theron is the true star of the movie.
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