"Snow White" zaps "Men in Black" at box office

Sun Jun 3, 2012 2:01pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy and Ronald Grover

(Reuters) - "Snow White and the Huntsman" broke the spell of lackluster performances by many big-budget films this summer season at movie theaters, grabbing $56.3 million in its first weekend to top "Men in Black 3," according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The film, a dark and sometimes violent take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, collected an additional $39.3 million in 45 international markets where it also opened this weekend.

The solid debut led Universal Pictures' "Snow White" to escape the fate of "Battleship," also distributed by Universal, and Warner Bros' vampire film "Dark Shadows," both of which fell victim to blockbuster "The Avengers."

"I'm very happy about it. The uniqueness of the campaign from the get-go made (the film) stand out as not just the quintessential fairy tale; it was telling a very different story," Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, told Reuters.

"Men in Black 3," which opened last week, collected $29.3 million in ticket sales in U.S. and Canadian theaters to fall to the No. 2 position on U.S. and Canadian box office charts.

Starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as black-suited secret agents, together again for the first time since 2002, "MIB 3" ticket sales slipped by 58 percent from its opening weekend. It has collected $274.6 million in overseas markets since its release.

"Snow White and the Huntsman," which starred Kristen Stewart from box office hit "The Twilight Saga" vampire films, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth from "The Avengers," is the second film this year inspired by the classic fairy tale.

In March, "Mirror Mirror," starring Julia Roberts as the evil queen, failed to gain large audiences with $18 million on its first weekend and $62 million in domestic ticket sales.   Continued...

Director of the movie Rupert Sanders (R) poses with cast members Kristen Stewart and Sam Claflin (2nd L), and producer Joe Roth at an industry screening of "Snow White and the Huntsman" at the Mann Village theatre in Westwood, California May 29, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 1. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni