Battleship, The Avengers, What to Expect When Expecting

Universal Pictures, Marvel, Lionsgate

The Avengers bows down to no dictator, much less Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Lopez.

Facing an onslaught of new competition, the superhero team-up easily won the box office for a third straight weekend, setting new records, and upping its domestic total to $457.1 million overall.

The big-budget Battleship, Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator and the Diaz- and Lopez-led What to Expect When You're Expecting all looked puny by comparison.  

What to Expect debuted to a soft $10.5 million, while The Dictator, which opened mid-week, and came away with a $17.4 million Friday-Sunday, marked another box-office regression for Cohen.

Battleship fared the worst of all, opening with an unexpectedly low $25 million off a budget of about $200 million.

Its opening was reminiscent of, and actually weaker than the one posted in the spring by the mega-sized failure John Carter.

Both Battleship and John Carter star Friday Nights Lights alum Taylor Kitsch.

Battleship, which has been playing overseas for weeks, saved some face by pushing its worldwide total past $225 million. 

What to Expect, meanwhile, marked a new low for the recent boomlet of all-star relationship comedies, coming up short against both the hit Think Like a Man and the failed New Year's Eve.

It managed to do no better than fifth place in the weekend standings, but avoided a Battleship-sized belly flop, in part, due to its reportedly modest $40 million budget.

The pricier Dictator, Cohen's first crack at a mostly conventional comedy, was not expected to be either a Borat or a Brüno, so of the weekend's disappointing starts, its was the least disappointing, which isn't saying much.

"It's definitely bombs away for all three," Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock said.

At the other end of the spectrum was The Avengers, which became the fastest film to hit $400 million domestically, the highest-grossing Disney-released movie ever, and the sixth-biggest domestic champ of all-time.

At the rate it's going, The Avengers could be at or very near $500 million by the end of next weekend. Only Avatar, Titanic and The Dark Knight, the reigning comic-book movie (for now), have ever hit that benchmark.

Internationally, The Avengers continues to be an even bigger phenomenon. Its worldwide total now stands at $1.2 billion, the fourth-biggest haul ever.

Elsewhere, Jason Segel and Emily Blunts The Five-Year Engagement was put out of its misery, dropping from the Top 10 after three quiet weekends and a $27.1 million domestic take.   

Here's the complete rundown of the weekend's top movies, per Friday-Sunday domestic estimates as reported by the studios and Exhibitor Relations:

  1. The Avengers, $55.1 million
  2. Battleship, $25.4 million
  3. The Dictator, $17.4 million
  4. Dark Shadows, $12.8 million
  5. What to Expect When You're Expecting, $10.5 million
  6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, $3.3 million
  7. The Hunger Games, $3 million
  8. Think Like a Man, $2.7 million
  9. The Lucky One, $1.8 million
  10. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, $1.5 million
(Originally posted at 8:36 a.m. PT on May 20, 2012.)
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