The Avengers set yet another record over the weekend. With $55.6 million in domestic ticket sales, it lifted its total to $457.7 million, while its worldwide earnings rose to nearly $1.2 billion -- making it in just three weekends the highest-grossing Disney film in history. But what was good news for Disney was depressing news for Universal, which saw its $200-million-plus blockbuster Battleship open a distant second with just $25.5 million. Coming in third was the debut of Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator , which collected $17.4 million over the three-day weekend. Including screenings on Wednesday and Thursday, the film has now grossed $24.5 million. Moving into 354 theaters, Fox Searchlight's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel averaged $9,126 per theater -- second only to The Avengers' $13,096 average per theater -- for a total of $3.23 million as it ascended to fifth place. Overall, however, the box office was down sharply from a year ago. Its $135.7 million total was down nearly 15 percent from last year's $158.7 million when Pirates Of The Caribbean On Stranger Tides opened with $90.2 million.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date) 1. The Avengers, Disney, $55,644,102, 3 Wks. ($457,665,517); 2. Battleship , Universal, $25,534,825, (New); 3. The Dictator, Paramount, $17,435,092, 1 Wk. ($24476173 -- from Wednesday); 4. Dark Shadows, Warner Bros., $12,583,338, 2 Wks. ($50,721,759); 5. What to Expect When You're Expecting, Lionsgate, $10,547,068, (New); 6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Fox Searchlight, $3,230,584, 3 Wks. ($8,228,025); 7. The Hunger Games, Lionsgate, $2,950,331, 9 Wks. ($391,581,441); 8. Think Like a Man, Sony, $2,650,549, 5 Wks. ($85,838,460); 9. The Lucky One , Warner Bros., $1,778,453, 5 Wks. ($56,934,628); 10. Pirates! Band of Misfits , Sony Animation/Aardman, $1,578,632, 4 Wks. ($25,490,136).