The ultimate superhero team-up continues to set records as it gathers up dollars in its race to the number one movie of all time — but this weekend, another competitor may finally take down the box office juggernaut. Men in Black 3, mega star Will Smith's return to the big screen (his last film was 2008's little-seen Seven Pounds), hits theaters theaters this weekend and is expected to trounce Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the rest of the gang in the North American market. Fourteen years after the 1997 original and a decade since the second, but the Men in Black is already a billion dollar worldwide franchise. Hollywood.com Box Office Analyst Paul Dergarabedian predicts the third installment, which reunites Smith with Tommy Lee Jones, while adding Josh Brolin into the mix, will take home around $80 million over the Memorial Day weekend, stealing coveted 3D and IMAX screeners from The Avengers.
But don't feel bad for the superheroic squad. The Avengers will hang on strong in spot number two, with a fourth weekend gross in the $40 million range. Speaking of Star Wars, Avengers passed the fourth highest grossing film of all-time domestically, Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace on Thursday after just 21 days of release. Dergarabedian also suggests that the movie will hit the half a billion mark by Sunday, after 24 days of release — a new box office speed record.
The presence of Men in Black 3 and The Avengers doesn't leave too much room for the other mega-budget blockbuster floating around the month of May, but Battleship (read review) should still manage a total in the high teens by the end of the long weekend. The movie should continue to add dollars in both domestic and international territories, avoiding the steamroller that is Mr. Smith.
Round out the top five is Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy The Dictator (read review), which should command a total in the low teens and round out its total in the $40 million range, and newcomer Chernobyl Diaries, the latest from Paranormal Activity mastermind Oren Peli. In the vein of the supernatural series, Chernobyl Diaries takes the horror story to Ukraine with an unknown cast and low-budget production values. The movie should scare up around $10 million for a fifth place finish.
What movie will you see this holiday weekend?
[UPDATE: Men in Black 3 took Friday's box office, bringing in $18.0 million for the no. 1 spot. The Avengers came in second with $9.7 and new entry Chernobyl Diaries rounded out the top three on Friday with $3.5 million.]
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Marvel Studios/Columbia Pictures]