'Men in Black 3' $18M Friday On Track to Whack 'The Avengers' at Box Office
"Men in Black 3" got off to a fast start with $18 million Friday at the box office, positioning itself for a four-day Memorial Day weekend in the $75 million to $80 million range.
That will enable Sony's second sequel in the franchise to knock Disney's "The Avengers" out of the top spot for the first time in a month. "MIB 3" is on 4,248 screens this weekend, 278 of them Imax and 3,000 in 3D.
Disney's "The Avengers" brought in $9.7 million Friday, which projects to a four-day total of between $46 million and $48 million.
That ups the overall domestic gross of the Marvel superhero saga to $486.4 million and puts it on a pace to cross the $500 million mark in 23 or 24 days, fastest of any movie. Previous record-holder "The Dark Knight" managed the feat in 32 days.
"The Intouchables" opened in four theaters and rang up $28,704 for the Weinstein Co., a $7,176 per-screen average.
Universal's "Battleship," back for its second tour, took in $3 million Friday, putting it on course for a $14 million weekend, in line with expectations.
Almost as encouraging as the early "MIB 3" receipts for Sony might be the CinemaScore numbers. Overall it earned a B+, but from audiences under 18 it received a A-. Connecting with the young moviegoers is particularly critical for "MIB 3" because many aren't aware of the franchise history, since the last film came out a decade ago.
Sony is hoping the combination of positive word of mouth and the film's PG-13 rating will bring family audiences flocking on Saturday and Sunday.
Tommy Lee Jones and director Barry Sonnenfield are back along with Smith for this reboot, which features a back-in-time plot and Josh Brolin as a younger iteration of Jones' Agent K character.$7
The first "Men in Black" grossed $589 million worldwide with a budget of $90 million while the second one grossed $442 million from a budget of $140 million. This time-traveling sequel has the budget of those two movies combined, but it also opens in 3D and Imax, which makes for higher ticket prices.
Sony has two other films in the marketplace. "Think Like A Man" upped its overall gross to $87.2 million with $390,000 from 786 locations and "Pirates! Band of Misfits" took in the $270,000 from 884 locations to up its overall gross to $26.4 million.
Is a decade too long to wait for a film sequel? Is four years too long for the industry's most bankable star to be away from the big screen and keep his box-office mojo?
"Men in Black 3" and star Will Smith will provide answers to both of those questions this Memorial Day weekend as they try to knock "The Avengers" out of the top box-office spot for the first time in a month.
"MIB3" will make about $80 million over the four days and do just that, industry analysts forecast. Sony has "MIB3" on 4,248 screens, 278 of which will be Imax.
Tommy Lee Jones and director Barry Sonnenfield are back along with Smith for this reboot, which features a back-in-time plot and Josh Brolin as a younger iteration of Jones' Agent K character.
Sony is hoping to recreate the magic it found in the 1997 hit "Men in Black," which had a budget estimated at $90 million and grossed $589 million worldwide; or the second, 2002's "Men in Black II," which grossed $442 million on a $140 million budget. Smith is looking to recapture some magic, too. He's been absent from the big screen since 2008's "Seven Pounds."
"They're in a good spot," Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations told TheWrap Thursday. "The last two big films ("Dark Shadows" and "Battleship") have disappointed, so we're still really waiting for something new to fire-up the summer marketplace. You can only see 'The Avengers' so many times."
The critics are lukewarm on "MIB3," with 65% of the critics on RottenTomatoes positive and Metacritic giving it a 59 rating. But as with all would-be summer blockbusters, attracting young audiences will be they key, and analysts outside the studio expressed some skepticism, noting so-so social media awareness.
"Ten years is a long time," said Boxoffice.com editor Phil Contrino told TheWrap Thursday. "And I don't know whether a plot that takes you back to the 1960s is the best way to connect with a new generation of moviegoers."