Snow White and the Huntsman was awoken to the tune of $56.3 million this weekend, according to studio estimates. That’s a big win for Universal Pictures, especially considering that the studio’s last film, the sinking big-budget bomb known as Battleship, opened to less than half that amount two weeks ago.
Snow White also marked the best debut for star Kristen Stewart outside the Twilight franchise, and the second-best start for Charlize Theron after Hancock. The film skewed female, but just barely, as 53 percent of its crowd consisted of women. The PG-13 revisionist fairy tale was also pretty evenly split between younger and older moviegoers, with 52 percent being at least 30 years old.
Audiences liked but didn’t love the film, which received an okay “B” rating from CinemaScore participants. Considering that Universal spent $170 million producing the picture, Snow White needs to hold moderately well the next few weeks. But even if the movie doesn’t wind up being a huge moneymaker, it at least avoided the fate of Battleship and is the first major post-Avengers flick to exceed industry expectations.
In second place, Men in Black 3 held up fairly well, dropping 46 percent for $29.3 million. The $230 million threequel has so far earned $112.3 million domestically in 10 days — just slightly behind where Men in Black ($118.8 million) and Men in Black II ($115.6 million) were at the same point — and an impressive $386.9 million worldwide.
Of course, that’s nothing compared to The Avengers, which fell 45 percent for $20.3 million and walked away with two notable achievements. First, the Marvel superhero movie passed The Dark Knight‘s $533.3 million tally to become the third-highest-grossing domestic release ever, behind only Avatar ($760.5 million) and Titanic ($658.6 million). While The Avengers should be able to reach the $600 million mark, it’ll almost certainly fall short of those two James Cameron productions. Still, No. 3 is not a bad place to be, especially when you’re also talking about the worldwide record board.
Over the weekend, The Avengers passed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 to become the third biggest movie ever globally. The movie has so far smashed $1.36 billion worldwide. Though again, third place is likely where it’ll stay, as Avatar and Titanic are way out in front with $2.78 billion and $2.19 billion, respectively.
Rounding out the top five were Battleship and The Dictator with $4.8 million and $4.7 million. In limited release, Wes Anderson’s critically acclaimed Moonrise Kingdom continued to dominate, collecting $849,000 at just 16 theaters for a per-location average of $53,000.
The Mexican historical drama For Greater Glory, starring Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, settled for a decent $1.8 million at 757 theaters. But the horror-comedy sequel Piranha 3DD mustered only $179,000 at 86 locations, while the Adrien Brody comedy High School flunked out with just $80,600 at 200 sites — that’s $403 per theater. If one assumes each theater played High School five times per day, then each screening was attended by an average of three moviegoers.
1. Snow White and the Huntsman — $56.3 mil
2. Men in Black 3 — $29.3 mil
3. The Avengers — $20.3 mil
4. Battleship — $4.8 mil
5. The Dictator — $4.7 mil
Box office update: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ leads with $20.3 mil on Friday
Box office preview: ‘Snow White’ ready to take bite out of competition
Movie Talk: Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum on ‘Snow White and the Hunstman’ — VIDEO