'Avengers' outguns 'Battleship' at box offices

Sun May 20, 2012 2:13pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - New action movie "Battleship" collided with Iron Man, The Hulk and the rest of "The Avengers" this weekend at movie theater box offices, and the super heroes came out on top.

"Avengers" from Walt Disney Co's Marvel Studios added an estimated $55.1 million to its U.S. and Canadian ticket sales and held the No. 1 box office spot for the third straight weekend, according to studio forecasts on Sunday.

The strong performance left big-budget "Battleship," which launched in theaters on Friday, drifting in second place with $25.3 million. Final figures will be released on Monday.

Since it opened overseas in late April, "Avengers" has dominated movie theater box offices worldwide. Global sales for the film that unites a squadron of Marvel super heroes in a battle against evil reached $1.18 billion through Sunday, making it the biggest Disney release ever, the studio said.

Steady interest in "The Avengers" likely took business from "Battleship," an effects-filled $209-million production inspired by a Hasbro board game. Ahead of the weekend, box office forecasters projected at least $30 million for "Battleship" in its North American (U.S. and Canadian) debut.

"We're disappointed obviously, there are a lot of factors going into this including the juggernaut 'Avengers' ... it's taking a big chunk out of the marketplace," Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, told Reuters.

"As a studio, it's not a disaster but as a domestic opening, it's softer than we could have hoped for ... the (audience) attention span is unfortunately altered when you have a juggernaut like 'Avengers,'" Rocco added.

The movie stars Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard as Navy officers engaged in a battle at sea against alien invaders. The U.S. Navy provided ships and crew members for the film.   Continued...

Robert Downey Jr. arrives at the screening of the film "Marvel's The Avengers" for the closing night of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly