Marvel's The Avengers grossed $4.45 million on Thursday to lead the daily box office for a 21st day in a row. In the process, Disney's blockbuster superhero film overtook the lifetime gross of 1999's The Phantom Menace for fourth place on the all-time unadjusted domestic chart. The Avengers was easily the week's top film with a weekly take of $74.66 million. That was down 43 percent from last week and places the film's three-week total at a mighty $476.68 million. The Avengers is currently running 15 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's The Dark Knight and will overtake that film for third place on the all-time unadjusted domestic chart before much longer. While The Avengers is widely expected to fall to second place this weekend behind the launch of Sony's Men in Black 3, the film is set to remain a major factor at the holiday weekend box office.
Universal's Battleship held steady in second place with $1.68 million. The expensive adaptation of the Hasbro board game was up 1 percent over Wednesday, which represented the day's poorest daily hold among wide releases. Battleship took second place for the week with a very disappointing seven-day start of $33.51 million. That places Battleship 21.5 percent ahead of the pace of 2006's Poseidon and 15.5 percent behind the pace of this year's John Carter.
The Dictator took in $1.54 million to remain in third. Paramount's R-rated comedy starring Sacha Baron Cohen was up 2 percent over Wednesday and down 46 percent from last Thursday. The Dictator placed in third for the week with $24.81 million and has now grossed $31.85 million through nine days of release. The film is currently running 36 percent behind the pace of 2008's Tropic Thunder.
Warner's Dark Shadows placed in fourth with $1.15 million, while Lionsgate's What to Expect When You're Expecting followed closely behind in fifth with $1.05 million. For the week Dark Shadows took fourth with $17.34 million and What to Expect When You're Expecting took fifth with a weaker than expected seven-day start of $15.02 million. The two-week total for Dark Shadows stands at $55.48 million.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel grossed $0.47 million to remain in sixth place. The John Madden directed film starring Judi Dench has grossed a strong $10.20 million through three weeks of limited release. The film expands into wide release beginning today with a current count of 1,233 locations.