Weekend Box Office – THE AVENGERS Claims Third Week On Top; $25.3 Million Debut Sinks BATTLESHIP

     May 20, 2012


For the third week in a row, The Avengers dominated the box office. Marvel’s superheroes added another $55 million to their domestic total – putting the film over $450 million in a record-breaking seventeen days. Meanwhile, the three new releases that lined up to challenge The Avengers all struggled in the blockbuster’s wake.

Title Weekend Total
1 The Avengers $55,050,000 $457
2 Battleship $25,350,000 $25.3
3 The Dictator $17,415,000 $24.4
4 Dark Shadows $12,770,000 $50.9
5 What to Expect When You’re Expecting $10,500,000 $10.5
6 Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $3,250,000 $8.2
7 The Hunger Games $3,000,000 $391.6
8 Think Like A Man $2,700,000 $85.8
9 The Lucky One $1,765,000 $56.9
10 Pirates! Band of Misfits $1,450,000 $25.3

battleship-movie-poster-large-02We’ll get to all the latest Avengers accolades in a moment. I’ve waited a long time to talk about Universal’s Battleship and, even though the film is in second place, this weekend’s estimate indicates I might not get another chance to kick it around.

From its debut in 3,690 locations, Battleship earned an estimated $25.3 million. That’s at least $10 million below initial projections for the big-budget boardgame, and less than half of what The Avengers earned in first place. So, how did the film that came “From the Company that Brought You Transformers” stumble so badly? Where do I start?

A few years back, Hasbro announced it would capitalize on the success of Transformers by bringing its other classic toy properties to the screen. G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra was first, in August 2009. Though no blockbuster, the film’s $22.1 million opening day and $54.7 million first weekend was solid enough to push other Hasbro properties into production. Enter Battleship. At the time, many noted that the two-player game, without action figures or an animated series to its credit, seemed like a thin premise for a movie. Then again, Disney’s theme park attraction-turned-feature film Pirates of the Caribbean was also a hard sell, once upon a time.

battleship-movie-image-taylor-kitsch-rihannaWorking in Battleship’s favor was the fact that Peter Berg, beloved creator of Friday Night Lights, was signed to direct. Working against it?  The stunt casting of Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker, the inscrutable alien plot, terrible word of mouth, ghastly early reviews and, after John Carter crashed and burned, lead actor Taylor Kitsch.

Universal saw the writing on the wall and launched Battleship in the more-forgiving international waters back in April. So far the film has earned a decent $230 million overseas, which will go a long way towards balancing out its reported $210 million budget. Battleship should have been able to break $100 million here in the US; but, all things considered, I think it will be lucky to match John Carter’s $71 million final gross. It’s that bad.

It’s tempting to imagine what might have happened to Battleship if The Avengers frenzy had died down faster but, luckily for Disney, that didn’t happen. Earlier this week the Marvel superheroes passed Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End to become Disney’s highest grossing title internationally and worldwide. This weekend The Avengers also became the studio’s highest grossing domestic title, flying past the $423.3 million of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The Avengers is now the sixth-highest grossing film in US history. With just $3 million separating it from Star Wars, the Marvel title should move up to fifth by Monday. Just to be clear, these figures do not reflect inflation, 3D or IMAX price differentials or numbers of tickets sold.

what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-posterIf this weekend’s estimate made Battleship look bad, what to make of What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Like Hasbro’s boardgame, bringing America’s best-known pregnancy manual to the big screen was not an easy sell. It helped that the book was reimagined as a rom-com and stuffed with stars, á la Valentine’s Day. Not so helpful? The fact that recent rom-coms concerning pregnancy (The Switch, The Back-Up Plan) have been notable box office failures. That’s about the size of What to Expect. Instead of the $25 million that was expected, the Lionsgate release earned just $10.5 million from its 3,012 locations. That’s slightly higher than the first weekend of The Switch, if that helps put things in perspective.

Things were not so tragic for The Dictator. The latest comedy from Sacha Baron Cohen was not in league with Borat, or even Bruno, but at least it managed to match expectations with its estimated $17.4 million from 3,008 runs. Like Battleship, The Dictator is expected to make up ground internationally. Unlike Battleship, the $65 million budget of The Dictator will make that ground a lot more manageable.

By all accounts, The Avengers will be handing first place over to Men in Black 3 next weekend. It’s been a long time since Will Smith was the king of summer but even an aging king is going to command more than $55 million on Memorial Day weekend, right? Not that it isn’t fun to write about the same movie week after week, but come on! May 2012 has got to have more to offer than one, crazy-enormous, super-powered blockbuster.


Around The Web
  • ipolos

    I kinda feel bad for taylor kitsch, 2 big roles, 2 big flops. The guy is probably never headlining a movie for the next couple of years.

    but im happy for the avengers :) about to order some shawarma :D

    • Tim

      You feel sorry for him? Why? He is making some serious dough…

    • Benjamin

      I saw Battleship this weekend; after seeing Avengers 3 times. I don’t feel bad for Kitsch. He’s not a good actor. You could put Kitsch, Channing Tatum and Sam Worthington in a sack and pull any one of them out and it wouldn’t matter, because each one is about the same. A bad actor who stumbles his way through films yet somehow continues to land big heroic roles they a fully unsuited to. Overall, Battleship wasn’t horrible. Standard level of acting for a film like that (at least Kitsch is better than Shia and Brooklyn Decker was far better than both Megan Fox and Rosie H-W, who stunk even worse than Fox which I didn’t believe was possible). The science behind it was horrible as is usual for Hollywood. But the special effects were good. I won’t buy the Blu-ray but seeing it wasn’t a total waste.

      I do hope MIB3 goes down in flames. Smith can be fun but this was unneeded and sometimes Hollywood needs to be punished for their addiction to unoriginal sequels and tendency towards treating audiences like sheep. Not saying we aren’t sheep but it’s rude to say it to our face.

      • ipolos

        yeah i mean he’s not a good actor by any stretch of the imagination, just a pretty-boy, I just feel like it would suck to be in his shoes right now, as an actor. He headlined the two biggest domestic flops of the year. That kinda blows. I love friday night lights (even though I dont even watch football) so I was hoping most of the cast would find success after the show!

        He just needed more time to grow as an actor and get some actual skills before being handed roles like these. now he’ll probably never get a chance :P

      • Sugreev2001

        I used to hate Channing Tatum the most,but I changed my mind after watching 21 Jump Street.If anything,I used to bash the guy every chance I get.On Kitch,I’m kinda indifferent to him,even though I enjoyed him as Gambit and John Carter.As for Worthington,I think you people need to cut him some slack.He was terrific in the Debt,a relatively unseen movie.Out of the three I mentioned,two can do great work if pushed hard by the director.

  • luke

    I would feel bad for Taylor Kitsch but he’s not worth it. He’s just an average actor. He should pull a Chris Evans and find some other superhero to play.

  • Nate

    Gee, Battleship starring such hard-hitting thespians as Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker didn’t pan out. Wake up Universal. I played with Transformers constantly as a kid. G.I. Joe was on every afternoon, I watched it religiously. Battleship? Played it a few times, mostly just lost all those tiny pieces in my couch cushions.

    Bottom line, make compelling stories with interesting characters we care about. I’m not saying no more licensed properties (The Avengers seems to be holding up ok), I’m just saying unless Rihanna and Decker are naked or singing…or both, I don’t care. I mean for Christ’s sake what’s next, ‘Parcheesi:The Movie’ starring Katie Perry and Adriana Lima?….. Actually I might watch that.

  • sense 11

    Good, I hope Men in Black gets smacked too.

  • Rockslide

    I would love to see Avengers win yet again next week, but I kinda doubt it. I loved MIB, but hated MIB II. I don’t have high hopes for the third. I’ll wait for the Netflix release and plan on seeing Avengers again this weekend.

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  • ScaredForMovies

    MIB III is still going to be hard pressed to beat Avengers. I don’t think anyone was really demanding a third MIB but Will Smith is in desperation mode trying to gain back his Blockbuster status. Early reviews are all right but I expect them to drop considerably before its Friday release.

    • Liam_H

      MIB3 is tracking fairly high, it will overtake TA next weekend.

      • John

        Yeah Avengers will probably drop (not including Memorial Day gross) another 40-50% next weekend. MIB3 will definitely make more than Avengers next weekend.

  • Brad

    I’ll wait for the reviews on MIB3 before seeing it. I want to see how they fared after having no completed script and if it is worth seeing. Will Smith should have picked a better comeback movie, Men In Black isn’t as popular as it used to be. And yes, I hope Avengers wins next weekend too

  • Nomis1700

    I really want to see MiB3 looks fun. And now that I’ve seen the trailer in 3D with Avengers, I’ll go check it out it 3D ;). Oh noes! I can’t even watch it in 2D!!! I’ll have to go to 3D -.-

  • Adrian

    It’s safe to say that MiB3 will beat The Avengers this next weekend. Not to say it’s a better film or anything but one has been out for a few weeks now and the other is a popular sequel just coming out.

    If you go by the numbers, The Avengers is only going down about 50% each weekend, which is awesome. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that it’ll have the biggest box office of the year.

    I hate to break it to the die hard Nolan fans, and I love Nolan’s films, but I don’t see The Dark Knight Rises matching The Avengers. It may come close but I just don’t see them surpassing its total.

    • t

      Get ready to get proved wrong biznatch! A children’s story book film will never surpass the glory that is Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

      • your dark knight ends

        I hope i find you on the post that shows TDKR didn’t beat TA

      • Ur mom

        Uuuhhhh, yeah. Whatever. Face it, Batman’s got no chance. :-/

      • Ur mom

        Also, that “children’s story book film” got millions of fans (kids, TEENS and ADULTS) and tons of critical praise (93% Rotten Tomatoes and A+ Cinemascore)!! So yeah, keep dreaming.

      • Ray

        How’s it a kids movie lol? it’s not winnie the pooh here.

        God how does Nolan’s dick taste honestly, guess what The Animated series/ and possibly animated movies and Arkham games are the pinnacle of batman not those “growling voice” movies. I have liked batman since I was like 8 so I’m just stating my opinion here. I doubt TDKR will top TA everyone saw the second because Heath died irl and I mean that. You know how like Tupac got more famous after death, everyone suddenly loved whitney h. a month ago yeah.Bane sounds 75 years old and the mask is bad on him. I know your nearly cliche answer is going to be watch Tom Hardy in Bronson or something blah blah. I expect it to just be good not great, and if they kill batman in it as rumoured? the movie is going to have a horrible second week i’m predicting.

  • T. Van

    I’m fine with MIB3 overtaking Avengers, next weekend. Will Smith is usually a pretty humble guy, and Marvel actually owns the MIB property (which is licensed to another studio). So… you could say that it would be a case of Marvel “losing” to itself.

  • hesan1gga

    Yah as impressive as Avengers has been there’s no way it will beat Avatars 2.7 billion world wide box office. Too much competition in the summer will eventually come and eat its potential revenue. Avatar had a huge advantage coming out in december with NO competition for months in January and February.

    As for Battleship, is was a bad but FUN movie…like the typical roland emmerich movie (Independence day, 2012, etc). Taylor Kitsch isn’t a bad actor, but his problem is that the movies he’s been involved with have suffered from terrible marketing. First of all last summer when the original trailer appeared for “Battleship” it was laughable, people scoffed at the idea of a movie based on a damn board game (even if it was loosely based)…just right there the movie lost a shit load of viewers that wouldn’t give the movie a chance. The movie should NOT have had an association with Hasbro or “Battleship”…it should have been conceived as a totally original idea. People would have seen “transformers” in sea as opposed to a board game that looks like transformers…

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