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Men in Black 3’s Weaker-Than-Expected Opener

Will Smith (left) and Tommy Lee Jones star in Columbia Pictures' MEN IN BLACK 3.
Will Smith (left) and Tommy Lee Jones star in Columbia Pictures’ MEN IN BLACK 3. Photo: Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures

Sony had hoped for an $80 million opening holiday weekend for its Will Smith summer blockbuster Men in Black 3, but it looks like the film will underperform by at least $10 million. This is particularly worrisome considering MiB 3’s nearly $300 million budget — a quarter of which was thanks to a six-week shutdown so screenwriter Etan Cohen could rework the time-travel plot device. Overseas, at least, the movie is faring a little stronger but in several markets still trails special-effects-overloaded Battleship, which in turn is in danger of being eclipsed at the domestic box office by Sasha Baron Cohen’s comparatively low-budget The Dictator. Overall, Hollywood is facing 32 percent less revenue this four-day Memorial Day weekend than last, a troubling slump right at the start of the all-important summer season. The only vaguely promising sign: The Avengers officially hit the $500 million mark nine days faster than previous record-holder Avatar.

Men in Black 3’s Weaker-Than-Expected Opener