After three weeks of dominance, “The Avengers” could at last dip out of the top box office slot as “Men in Black III” launches at more than 4,000 theaters across the country. As “Men in Black III” battles “The Avengers” atop the charts, horror-thriller “Chernobyl Diaries” is also in position to scoop up some thrill seekers this weekend without any genre competition. Director Wes Anderson’s highly buzzed about new film, “Moonrise Kingdom,” will also get a limited release this weekend, though at only a few venues across the country it’s unlikely to come near the top ten.
When “Men in Black II” hit theaters in the summer of 2002, expectations were high for the Sony/Columbia release, as Will Smith was at the peak of his popularity and the original “Men in Black” was one of the top grossing films of the late 1990s. But even with a built-in audience and a popular cast, “Men in Black II” struggled to meet lofty expectations, particularly in the U.S., where domestic revenue fell $60 million from the original. Even though “MIB II” ended up with more than $400 million worldwide, clearly the franchise was headed in the wrong direction.