Box Office: ‘Men in Black 3’ zaps the Memorial Day weekend with $70 million

The final estimates are in for the four-day Memorial Day Weekend and “Men in Black 3” has officially knocked “The Avengers” from the top spot after a superb four-week run.

“Men in Black 3” is estimated to have grossed exactly $70 million over the four-day frame which means it will likely end up with a tad less.  With a hefty $225-300 million price tag (depending on who you believe), it’s going to be hard for “MIB3” to reach profitability.  On a positive note, moviegoers clearly indicated they were still interested in seeing Will Smith on the big screen.  He’ll return next year in M. Night Shyamalan’s “After Earth.”

Dropping to the second spot was “The Avengers” with another $46.8 million and an amazing $523.5 million to date. The Marvel Studios phenomenon is looking at crossing the $600 million mark within the next two weeks and has “Titanic’s” $658 million no. 2 gross in its sight.  “The Avengers” should surpass “The Dark Knight’s” $533 million gross sometime this week.

Steady as she goes in third was Universal Studios’ disappointing “Battleship.”  The Peter Berg actioner grossed another $13.7 million over the holiday weekend for $47.2 million to date.  With just $279 million worldwide and a $209 million plus budget, “Battleship” is another tentpole that will have issues breaking even this year.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” fell to fourth with another $11.7 million and $43.6 million to date.  The Larry Charles directed comedy has only found $93.9 million globally so far.  With a reported $65 million budget, Paramount Pictures may just squeak to break even with this one when all is said and done. 

“Dark Shadows” rounded out the top five with another $9.4 million and $64.8 million so far. The Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaboration should end up with $85-90 million in the U.S. by the end of its run. “Shadows” is another summer release that has disappointed some industry pundits. Especially because of its unexpectedly soft international grosses.

Another Warner Bros. product, “Chernobyl Diaries,” scared off negative reviews for a $9.3 million four-day opening. The Oren Peli produced horror flick will quickly radiate its way out of theaters.

One underreported success so far this year is the remarkable “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”  The older skewing dramedy expanded to 1,233 for an $8.2 million take and one of the highest per screens in the top ten ($6,671).  The Fox Searchlight release has already astounded with $18.4 million and could easily end up with $40 million plus domestically.  Overseas, “Marigold Hotel” has been a major moneymaker already grossing $78 million.

Millennium Entertainment’s “Bernie” also had a strong expansion this weekend jumping to 194 theaters and $1.1 million for the frame. The Richard Linklater comedy has found a very solid $2.5 million in what is still a limited release.

The big news in the art house circuit, however, was the record breaking debut of “Moonrise Kingdom.” The critically acclaimed Wes Anderson flick already broke the three-day per screen record, but kept Focus Features smiling with a four-day take of $669,000 or $167,250 per screen for the entire weekend.

The Weinstein Company also had something to celebrate as the French language “The Intouchables” found a stellar limited debut with $137,400 or $34,300 per theater.

Friday’s new releases include Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron in “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Piranha 3DD.”

Box office actuals will be released on Tuesday.