"Men in Black 3" took the Memorial Day weekend box office crown, alien-zapping its way to an estimated $70 million for the four days.
Combined with its $133.2 million overseas haul –it opened No. 1 in 104 foreign countries — Will Smith's sci-fi comedy sequel rang up $203.2 million worldwide in its opening weekend.
The time-traveling agents knocked "The Avengers" out of the top spot for the first time in four weeks. Disney's Marvel superhero mash-up finished No. 2, with $46.9 million from 3,918 locations over the four days. It has now made $523.6 million in the U.S. and another $781.9 million overseas, for a $1.3 billion worldwide gross.
Universal's "Battleship" was No. 3 in its second week, with $13.8 million from 3,702 theaters over the four days, upping its U.S. gross to $47.1 million.
Paramount Pictures' "The Dictator" brought in $11.7 million from 3,014 locations for the holiday weekend, upping its domestic gross to $43.6 million.
Warners Bros.' found-footage horror film "Chernobyl Diaries" scared up $9.3 million from 2,433 locations in its debut. The studio's "Dark Shadows" took in $9.4 million in its third week.
"MIB3" took in $17.9 million Sunday and another $15 million was expected Monday. It played on 4,248 locations, giving it a per-screen average of $16,478.
While the domestic number came in at the low end of expectations, "MIB 3" is the best opening film in the franchise. The original "MIB," which bowed in 2002, took in $51 million in its three-day opening weekend and "MIB2" did $52 million. Sony took in another $17.6 million Sunday and expects to see $15 million from "MIB3" Monday.
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The first “Men in Black” grossed $589 million worldwide with a budget of $90 million while the second one grossed $442 million from a budget of $140 million. This sequel has the budget of those two movies combined, but it also opened on 3,000 3D screens and 278 Imax in the U.S., which makes for higher ticket prices.
IMAX sales contributed approximately $12.5 million to the total worldwide, 20% higher than previous best for a Memorial Day release.
Will Smith's box-office star power seems to be intact. His return to the big screen for the first time in four years stands as his third-biggest opening, behind "I Am Legend" ($77 million) and "Hancock" ($62 million).
Audiences liked the movie more than the critics. "Men in Black 3" received a B+ Cinemascore from general audiences and an A- from moviegoers under 18. Of the opening audience, 54 percent was male. It played more broadly rather than to the youth market, with 44 percent of the audience under was 25.
It gave Sony its fifth No. 1 box-office film of the year, following "The Vow," "Think Like a Man" "21 Jump Street" and "Underworld Awakening."
On the indie front, Focus Features bowed the opening film from this year's Cannes Film Festival, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," and it took in $669,486 from four theaters for an eye-popping $167,371 per-screen average.
Fox Searchlight's "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" continued to play strongly, raking in $8.2 million from 1,233 theaters over the four days and upping its overall domestic gross to $18.4 million.
The Weinstein Co.'s French import "The Intouchables" brought in $28,704 from four theaters, a $7,176 per-screen average.