The comic action heroes of ‘‘Men in Black 3’’ have taken over the weekend box office from the comic-book superheroes of ‘‘The Avengers.’’
According to studio estimates Monday, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’s latest ‘‘Men in Black’’ installment debuted with $70 million domestically over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, which proved unusually quiet at theaters for Hollywood overall.
Sony’s ‘‘Men in Black 3’’ took over the No. 1 spot from Disney’s ‘‘The Avengers,’’ which had been the top flick for three straight weekends but slipped to second place with $46.9 million domestically.
‘‘Men in Black 3’’ added $133.2 million overseas for a worldwide total of $203.2 million. The movie reunites Smith’s Agent J and Jones’s Agent K for their first big-screen adventure since 2002. The movie costars Josh Brolin as the younger Agent K, who is targeted for death by a time-traveling alien that Agent J chases back to the late 1960s.
“We took over the world this weekend,’’ said Rory Bruer, Sony’s head of distribution.
‘‘The Avengers’’ raised its domestic total to $523.6 million, making it the No. 4 movie on the all-time domestic revenue chart and only the fourth film to top half a billion dollars.
While it was a good start for ‘‘Men in Black 3’’ and another strong hold for ‘‘The Avengers,’’ Memorial Day weekend was the slowest at theaters in more than a decade. Box-office tracker Hollywood.com estimates that overall domestic receipts for the four days will finish at $190 million, the lowest since Memorial Day weekend in 2001, when revenues totaled $185.3 million.
Other May releases fell far short of expectations, with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s ‘‘Dark Shadows’’ and the game adaptation ‘‘Battleship’’ swamped in the wake of ‘‘The Avengers.’’ “Battleship’’ launched in April overseas, though, where its $232 million haul helped make up for its meager $47.1 million total after two weekends domestically.
With domestic revenue at $4.3 billion so far this year, Hollywood remains on a record pace, with receipts running 11.3 percent ahead of last year’s, according to Hollywood.com. But revenue had been running 20 percent ahead of 2011’s earlier this year.