"Snow White and the Huntsman" scored a box-office bullseye, 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 strong 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 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 big bow reflects well on Stewart's post-"Twilight" prospects as a box-office presence, too.
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.
Prometheus," the Ridley Scott sci-fi epic from Fox, debuted overseas in 15 regions — it was No. 1 in 14 of them — and took in an impressive $35 million. It bows in the U.S. on Friday.