"Avengers" may sink "Battleship's" U.S. launch

Fri May 18, 2012 2:53am EDT
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By Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The big-budget action film "Battleship", produced by Comcast's Universal Pictures, is shaping up to become the next film to fall victim to "The Avengers'" record box office march.

Universal's new sci-fi blockbuster, which opens on May 18 in 3,690 U.S. and Canadian theaters, is projected to rake in ticket sales of $35 million to $40 million over its first weekend, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com's box office division.

"The Avengers," which had ticket sales of $395.8 million through May 14, is expected to again top weekend movies for a third consecutive week with $50 million, he said.

Last weekend, Marvel's super-hero franchise-builder surprised experts by cutting into the expected weekend ticket sales of "Dark Shadows," starring Johnny Depp, which took just $29.7 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

"The Avengers" grossed $103 million, the first Hollywood film to cross $100 million in its second weekend.

"'Avengers' is making us throw our tracking out the window," said one person familiar with studio tracking.

Starring Liam Neeson and the singer Rihanna, "Battleship" is loosely based on the Hasbro game.

"Battleship" needs to generate more than $50 million in weekend ticket sales to break even, said analyst Tony Wible, a managing director at Janney Montgomery Scott, who does not follow Comcast but compiles a data base to predict film performances.   Continued...

Cast member Rihanna poses at the American premiere of Universal Pictures' film "Battleship" in Los Angeles May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok