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Weekend Box Office: 'Avengers' Annihilates 'Battleship,' Which Opens Lower than 'John Carter'

Thompson on Hollywood By Brian Fuson | Thompson on Hollywood May 20, 2012 at 1:30PM

Marking its third consecutive weekend in the top spot, Disney’s “The Avengers” continued to annihilate the competition and dominate at North American box office. The Marvel Studio’s production racked up an estimated $55 million, advancing its cume to a stellar $457.1 million.
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With an estimated production cost of around $65 million, a tepid opening weekend, and a poor “C” grade from moviegoers on CinemaScore, it’s not likely that “Dictator” will be profitable at the boxoffice.  The audience was young mostly male moviegoers, as 65% were male and 56% were less than 25 years of age.  Of the weekend’s three new films ,critics liked “Dictator” best; the film garnered a 61% fresh rating.

Lionsgates’ “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” delivered an estimated $10.5 million and arrived in the fifth slot. The PG-13 rated comedy-drama, based on the popular 1984 pregnancy advice book, was directed by Kirk Jones and stars an ensemble cast led by Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Chris Rock. The story follows the trials, travails and joys of four couples before, during and after the road to pregnancy and childbirth.

“What to Expect” was produced and co-financed by Lionsgate and Alcon Entertainment for around $40 million, and not attracted a mostly female audience along the lines of “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve,” which opened with $56 million (first three days of a four-day holiday weekend) and $13 million, respectively.   The CinemaScore was a modest “B-“, but critics were not fans as the film, which earned a 22% fresh rating per RottenTomatoes.com.  While the book was a huge success, in this case the film is not likely to follow in its tracks.

Fox Searchlight’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” moved up two notches into the sixth spot with an estimated $3.25 million from just 354 theaters, 176 more than last weekend--an astonishing $10,000 per screen average. The picture has a cume of around $8.25 million to date. The distributor will be expanding to more than 1,100 theaters Memorial Day weekend.

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.