Battleship sinks, Dictator drowns at box office
Taylor Kitsch star as Alex Hopper in Battleship which had a disappointing opening in North America last weekend.
The Avengers continues to muscle out everything else Hollywood throws at it, easily sinking naval rival Battleship and other new releases.
With $US55.1 million ($A55.91 million) domestically, Disney's superhero sensation remained number one for a third-straight weekend and took in more than the three big newcomers combined. Overseas, The Avengers added an additional $US56 million ($A56.82 million).
The film is approaching the $US1.2 billion mark worldwide, totalling $US457.1 million domestically and $US723.3 million internationally.
Sacha Baron Cohen fails to cut it at the box office in The Dictator. Photo: AP
"The Avengers is dominating the marketplace so profoundly that the newcomers are having a tough time breaking in now," said Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
In Australia, Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest film The Dictator opened in cinemas last Wednesday and knocked The Avengers off the top spot for the weekend, taking in $AUD5.9 million in its opening five days, including previews.
The four day weekend result of $AUD5.1 million was 5% bigger than Sacha Baron Cohen’s previous film Borat.
More stars, more box office domination ... The Avengers.
Universal's Battleship which opened in Australia more than a month ago, finally opened in North America to take a distant number two with $US25.4 million domestically, well below industry expectations.
But the board-game adaptation starring Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna already has grossed $US226.8 million overseas since launching in April, giving it a worldwide total of $US252.1 million.
"I would be glad to be number two if we opened to a better number. But given the presence of an absolute juggernaut in the marketplace, there's nothing you can do," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal. "Not to have a shot at being number one this weekend is disappointing. But it's a challenge with Avengers out there."
Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy The Dictator, in which he plays a tyrannical third-world leader, debuted in third place with $US17.4 million for the weekend. Since opening on Wednesday, the Paramount release has taken in $US24.5 million.
The Dictator opened with $US30.3 million in 29 overseas markets, giving it a worldwide haul of $US54.8 million.
Paramount executives said they were happy with that start, but even a movie aiming for laughs had some trouble making in-roads against The Avengers.
"This is a full-out comedy, very different than Avengers. But when you've got a movie that big, it just absolutely sucks up the marketplace," said Anthony Marcoly, head of international distribution for Paramount. "But it's also good for the entire business. Hopefully, those that see Avengers will go, 'Hey, I want to see another movie,' and hopefully, they'll think of our movie as a next choice."
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton's vampire romp Dark Shadows, which opened in second-place a week earlier, slipped to number four with $US12.8 million. The Warner Bros release lifted its domestic total to $US50.9 million, a weak result compared to the previous Depp-Burton blockbusters Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Lionsgate's pregnancy comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting, featuring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, premiered at number five with $US10.5 million.
The Avengers and the newcomers were unable to maintain Hollywood's sizzling start to the northern summer season. Overall domestic revenues totalled $US144 million, down 14 per cent from the same weekend last year, when Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opened with $US90.2 million, according to Hollywood.com.
At $US1.18 billion worldwide, The Avengers climbed to the number four spot on the all-time charts, trailing only Avatar ($US2.8 billion), Titanic ($US2.2 billion) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($US1.3 billion).
Domestically, The Avengers at $US457.1 million is number six all-time but will quickly pass Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace ($US474.5 million) and the original Star Wars ($US460.9 million) to take the number four spot.
Avatar is number one domestically at $US760.5 million, followed by Titanic at $US658.5 million and The Dark Knight at $US533.3 million.
Factoring in today's higher admission prices, many older movies sold more tickets than The Avengers, which also has a price advantage because of the extra few dollars it costs to see the 3-D version.
Estimated North American ticket sales for Friday through to Sunday:
1. The Avengers, $US55.1 million.
2. Battleship, $US25.4 million.
3. The Dictator, $US17.4 million.
4. Dark Shadows, $US12.8 million.
5. What to Expect When You're Expecting, $US10.5 million.
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, $US3.3 million.
7. The Hunger Games, $US3 million.
8. Think Like a Man, $US2.7 million.
9. The Lucky One, $US1.8 million.
10. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, $US1.5 million.
Australian ticket sales are for Thursday through to Sunday:
1 THE DICTATOR $5,094,480
2 THE AVENGERS $3,513,268
3 DARK SHADOWS $2,189,936
4 THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT $748,656
5 THE WOMAN IN BLACK $375,587
6 THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL $281,879
7 SAFE $253,250
8 SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN $164,591
9 THE WAY $132,557
10 WISH YOU WERE HERE $124,328