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Your Box Office Explained: The Avengers Cruises by Battleship

This Weekend’s Winner: The Avengers (No. 1 with $55 million) is in its third weekend, but still managed to out-gross all three new films in release.

Honorable Mention: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, with $3.25 million, up almost a quarter over last weekend — albeit in twice as many theaters. (Still, "Hooray!" for the Dowager Countess!)

This Weekend’s Losers: Battleship tanked (No. 2 with $25 million); The Dictator (No. 3 with $17.5 million) was impotent, and What to Expect When You're Expecting ($10.5 million) laid an egg.

How It All Went Down: You know you’re in trouble when you open lower than some of the biggest bombs in recent memory. How much lower? Well, Battleship glugged down $11 million less than Cowboy & Aliens, $10 million less than Battle: Los Angeles, and $5 million less than John Carter.

Strangely, despite its PG-13 rating, the film failed to attract families. CinemaScore found its audience to be more male (57 percent) and under the age of 30 (55 percent), but hardly the teen-machines that Hasbro properties like Transformers and even G.I. Joe proved themselves to be.

Meanwhile, Hollywood's remaining efforts to divide and conquer by gender both failed: Just as Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator was overwhelmingly male (65 percent) and younger (65 percent under 25), What to Expect When You’re Expecting was mostly female (70 percent) and older (64 percent over the age of 35); regardless, neither gained much traction with their intended audiences.

Given the above stats on Expecting, an extra-special heaping of scorn surely must go to Lionsgate’s cynical and ultimately futile marketing campaign aimed at dudes who were, dare I state the obvious, never going to come.

(Actually, that’s not quite true: We dispatched Mrs. Your Box Office Explainer to a Sunday night showing in Los Angeles with a girlfriend who was contemplating the vicissitudes of pregnancy, and both discovered that there were, in fact, men in the theater.)

“They were all with pregnant women,” Mrs. YBOE reported back. “And they looked miserable.”

Which, come to think of it, makes sense: To the extent that the best-selling book serves as a palliative for all that we worry about when awaiting our bundles of joy, the motion picture comedy of the same name serves as prophylactic for the still un-impregnated. For after watching What to Expect, Mrs. YBOE observed that the film seems to hate “fathers, mothers, Eastern Europeans, fat people, cell phones, non-white babies, wives, Mickey Rourke, women, men, Jews, non-twin pregnancies, French names, Dennis Quaid, pregnancy of any kind, children, vaginas, ankles, nipples, and hyphenated names — but what it’s hardest on is vaginas.”

Before we could even interject with an appropriately infantile “That’s what she said!” joke, Mrs. YBOE quickly added, “There are laugh lines like, ‘A minivan is a vagina on wheels.’ But, from what I understand, vaginas are fairly sought-after.”

Indeed.

Photo: Universal Pictures