'Battleship' Box Office: 'Avengers' Tops Action Film On Friday Night

05/19/2012 01:10 pm ET

"Battleship" has been sunk by "The Avengers."

On Friday night, the adaptation of the once-popular board game earned just over $9 million at the box office, well behind the $15.3 million grossed by "Marvel's The Avengers." That slow start means the costly "Battleship" will finish in a distant second when final numbers are tallied on Sunday. According to Deadline.com's Nikki Finke, "Battleship" could cruise to around $26 million for the three-day frame, a disappointment considering the film's reported $200 million price tag.

"Battleship" is the second big-budget film starring Taylor Kitsch to stumble out of the gate in the last two months; in March, the "Friday Night Lights" star opened "John Carter" to underwhelming returns as well. That film -- which cost at least $250 million -- grossed $30 million during its first weekend on its way toward only $77 million in North America. Internationally, "John Carter" earned just over $200 million.

"Battleship" is already ahead of that pace overseas (it has earned over $215 million in international territories since the beginning of the month), but its low returns in the U.S. could hurt Universal. The studio started the year strong with "The Lorax," "Contraband" and "Safe House," but saw "The Five-Year Engagement" stumble in April before "Battleship" washed ashore this weekend.

Like "Battleship," the weekend's other new releases faltered. "The Dictator" and "What To Expect When Expecting" will likely finish third and fourth, with $16 and $12 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, "The Avengers" continues to rake in cash money. It's the fastest film to ever cross $400 million in North American ticket sales (14 days), and it will surpass both "The Lion King" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" at some point on Saturday to become the highest grossing domestic Disney release ever. Overall, "The Avengers" is closing in on $1.1 billion in global returns.

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