The boys are back in
town time, but do Agents J and K have the right stuff to neutralize a bunch of superheroes at the box office?
Based on the $1.5 million that Men in Black 3 grossed from midnight screenings last night, the oft-plagued threequel doesn't come anywhere close to the $18 million The Avengers tallied from its midnight showings a few weeks ago.
But there is some good news.
While fanboys weren't exactly crying out for a follow-up after the critical and commercial letdown that was Men in Black II, MIB3 has generated enough buzz to have a good shot at toppling the Marvel blockbuster from its perch as the No. 1 film these past three weeks.
And the only other competition that may give Men in Black 3 a run for its money this weekend is the controversial horror thriller Chernobyl Diaries, which nabbed $525,000 in midnight screenings.
By contrast, The Avengers is expected to earn less than that amount after last weekend's solid haul of $55 million in ticket sales, when it fended off an invasion of flicks in the form of Battleship, The Dictator and What to Expect When You're Expecting to up its domestic total to a whopping $457 million.
No doubt after the many rewrites and shooting delays, Columbia Pictures execs are hoping Men in Black 3's mostly positive reviews (it scored a 65 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) will give the sci-fi comedy franchise a much-needed jolt and help erase the bad memories that still linger from its predecessor. When it was released in 2002, Men in Black II grossed $441 million worldwide, a big drop-off from the $589 million global take of 1997's original Men in Black.