As was widely expected, Sony's Men in Black 3 led the way over the four-day Memorial Day holiday frame. However, the very expensive long-awaited sequel starring Will Smith did open towards the lower end of expectations with an estimated four-day start of $70.0 million. Over the three-day frame Men in Black 3 grossed $55.0 million. That was 5.5 percent stronger than the $52.15 million opening weekend of 2002's Men in Black II, though obviously Men in Black 3 has big advantages in the comparison thanks to ten years of ticket price inflation, 3D surcharges and opening on a Friday instead of a Wednesday. With that said, Will Smith still proved to be a major box office draw this weekend following a nearly 3 and ½ year hiatus from theatres since 2008's Seven Pounds. Compared to more recent Memorial Day weekend fare, Men in Black 3 performed essentially on par with the $70.05 million four-day start of 2009's Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
Given the large price-tag of Men in Black 3, holding power will be especially important going forward. The film registered a promising B+ rating on CinemaScore and it's also still possible that the film's opening weekend could have been deflated a bit from there having been such a long gap between it and Men in Black II. The audience breakdown for Men in Black 3 skewed towards moviegoers 25 and older (56 percent) and towards male moviegoers (54 percent).
Men in Black 3 was off to a relatively stronger $132.0 million international start from 106 territories. That places the film's worldwide launch at $202.0 million. Key international grosses included $19.5 million in China, $18.9 million in Russia, $8.5 million in Korea, $8.0 million in Japan, $5.9 million in Mexico, $5.7 million in Germany and $5.6 million in France. The film was a bit weaker in Australia and the United Kingdom with respective grosses of $5.2 million and $5.0 million.
While it saw its three-week run at the top of the box office end this weekend, Marvel's The Avengers nonetheless remained very strong with an estimated second place four-day take of $46.88 million. Disney's blockbuster superhero film grossed $36.799 million over the three-day frame, which represented the second largest unadjusted fourth weekend gross of all-time (behind only the $50.31 million fourth weekend performance of Avatar back in 2010). On Saturday The Avengers reached the $500 million milestone, as it needed just 23 days to get there. That represented a new record, with previous record holder Avatar having reached the milestone in 32 days. The Avengers has grossed $523.56 million in 25 days and is now knocking on the door of the $533.35 million final domestic gross of 2008's The Dark Knight for third place on the all-time unadjusted domestic chart.
Internationally, The Avengers grossed $28.1 million from 54 territories over the four-day frame. That brings the film's international total to $781.9 million and worldwide total to a truly mighty $1.306 billion.
Warner's Chernobyl Diaries opened in a lackluster sixth place with an estimated four-day start of $9.30 million (the film grossed $7.97 million over the three-day frame). The Oren Peli produced horror film actually got off to a relatively strong midnight start on Friday, but proved to be extremely front-loaded as Friday and the rest of the holiday weekend went on. At this rate the film will be hard pressed to match the $21.44 million final gross of last year's The Darkest Hour. The audience breakdown for Chernobyl Diaries skewed towards moviegoers under 25 (57 percent) and towards female moviegoers (53 percent).
In its first weekend of wide release, Fox Searchlight's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel remained strong with an estimated four-day take of $8.23 million. That was up 155 percent over last weekend's three-day performance and was good enough for eighth place this weekend. The modestly budgeted John Madden directed film starring Judi Dench grossed $6.37 million over the three-day frame and has grossed $18.43 million to date domestically. The international total for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel stands at $80.4 million, placing its current worldwide total at $98.8 million.
On the platform front, Moonrise Kingdom grossed an estimated $669,486 from just four locations in New York and Los Angeles over the four-day frame. That gave the Wes Anderson directed film from Focus a terrific per-location average of $167,372. Over the three-day frame, Moonrise Kingdom grossed $523,006, giving the film a three-day per-location average of $130,752. That represented the largest per-location average ever on record for a non-animated film, with the previous record belonging to 2006's Dreamgirls with an average of $126,317 (from 3 locations). Moonrise Kingdom will expand into additional markets on Friday, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
Additional reporting by Shawn Robbins and Phil Contrino.