Sony’s ‘Men in Black 3’ Tops Box Office With $69 Million

“Men in Black 3,” Sony Corp. (6758)’s sci- fi comedy, led the U.S. box office over the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, collecting $69.3 million in sales and ending a three- week, first-place run for “Marvel’s The Avengers.”

“The Avengers” fell to second with $47.2 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e- mailed statement. “Chernobyl Diaries” finished in sixth place in its debut with $9.36 million in sales.

The 3-D “Men in Black 3” is the fifth Sony film to open in first place this year, following releases that included “Underworld Awakening” and “The Vow.” “Men in Black” was expected to generate $73 million over the four-day holiday weekend ending today, an estimate from researcher Boxoffice.com.

“It was a little bit of a disappointing first weekend,” Paul Sweeney, a media and entertainment analyst for Bloomberg Industries, said in a May 27 telephone interview. “But it should have some legs. My sense is it’s going to be one of the movies that will play well for several weeks.”

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star in the effects-laden film as operatives in a government agency charged with managing Earth’s secret alien population. Smith’s character, Agent J, travels back in time to prevent a villain’s attempt to change history. To accomplish his mission, he must work with a younger version of Jones’s character, played by Josh Brolin.

$1.3 Billion

The first two “Men in Black” films, released in 1997 and 2002, generated a combined $1.03 billion in worldwide ticket sales for the studio, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. “Men in Black 3” had the best debut weekend of the three films, according to Hollywood.com Box-Office.

Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s “Avengers” has taken in $523.9 million in domestic sales and $1.31 billion globally since it opened on May 4.

“It was a great run for ‘The Avengers,’ but I think it’s had its time in the sun,” said Sweeney. “It will still do fairly well, but it will tail off over the next several weeks as more big-budget movies are released.”

The film, which set an opening-weekend record of $207.4 million earlier this month, unites several Marvel characters, including Iron Man and Thor, to battle an alien invasion. The movie is the year’s best box-office performer, followed by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF)’s “The Hunger Games.”

Battleship

Third place’s “Battleship,” from Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures, took in $13.9 million and has earned $47.4 million in domestic sales since opening in the U.S. on May 18. The film, made for about $209 million, stars Taylor Kitsch as a U.S. Navy officer who helps lead a sea battle against invading aliens. Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard and Rihanna are also featured.

“The Dictator” fell to fourth from third with $11.5 million. The film, from Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures, features Sacha Baron Cohen as the oppressive, all-powerful ruler of a North African nation who is replaced by an impostor during a visit to the U.S. Penniless, he is forced to adjust to life among poor immigrants, some of them exiles from his country, in New York city. Ben Kingsley co-stars.

Not Alone

“Chernobyl Diaries,” from Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros., tells the story of tourists who venture into a Ukrainian city that was abandoned after the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. While exploring they discover that not everyone left.

Boxoffice.com forecast a $13 million opening over four days for the film, written and produced by “Paranormal Activity” director and writer Oren Peli.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 31 percent to $185.5 million from a record Memorial Day weekend a year ago, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film sales this year have risen 12 percent to $4.28 billion, with attendance up 15 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for May 25 through May 28.

                  Rev.              Avg./    *Pct.  Total
   Movie         (mln)   Theaters  Theater   Chg.   (mln)   Wks
================================================================
 1 MEN IN BLACK  $69.3    4,248   $16,303     --    $69.3    1
 2 THE AVENGERS   47.2    3,918    12,053    -34    523.9    4
 3 BATTLESHIP     13.9    3,702     3,765    -57     47.4    2
 4 THE DICTATOR   11.5    3,014     3,804    -47     43.3    2
 5 DARK SHADOWS    9.4    3,404     2,773    -40     64.9    3
 6 CHERNOBYL       9.4    2,433     3,845     --      9.4    1
 7 WHAT TO EXPECT  8.8    3,021     2,915    -32     23.8    2
 8 BEST MARIGOLD   8.4    1,233     6,781     98     18.6    4
 9 HUNGER GAMES    3.0    1,421     2,121    -22    396.0   10
10 THINK LIKE MAN  1.8      786     2,309    -45     88.7    6
11 PIRATES!        1.4      884     1,626    -31     27.6    5
12 BERNIE          1.1      194    5,815      77      2.5    5

*Rank and per-theater avg. based on 4-day, percentage change is
3-day versus 3-day

Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $185.2        $268.2       -31


Year-to-date Revenue

     2012          2011
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $4,282        $3,845       +12

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Devin Banerjee in New York at dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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