'Men in Black 3': Opening Weekend Numbers

The Will Smith film didn't do as well as expected, but those involved are pushing back on the notion that it was a disappointment.

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Columbia Pictures

Men in Black 3, the third installment of the sci-fi comedy series starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, opened this weekend, grossing what's being called a "respectable" $70 million domestically over the four-day holiday, according to an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures. It brought in $132 million overseas, bringing the film's worldwide total to $202 million. That was not quite the $250 million that prerelease audience surveys had suggested the film, which cost nearly $250 million to make, would bring in, but those involved with the film are pushing back on the notion that the opening weekend was a disappointment.

Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution president, said those in the industry who are labeling the debut of "MIB3" as a disappointment are "being out of line or way harsh."

"I wouldn't think that anybody could feel that the kind of business the picture did is not an excellent start," Bruer said. "Despite the budget, we're definitely going to come out of this in a very positive way."

The "Men in Black" franchise, featuring Smith and Jones as two alien-fighting federal agents (and Brolin as Jones' younger self) originated in 1997. While the original movie was a smash hit, grossing $589 million worldwide, its sequel was less well received by critics and fans; it made $442 million globally.

The third installment appealed to men and women in nearly equal measure this weekend, as 54% of the audience was male. Those who saw the solidly reviewed film -- 56% of whom were older than 25 -- gave it an average grade of B-plus.

"MIB3" had a tumultuous journey to the big screen. Production shut down for three months after Smith voiced his unease over the time travel sequence in the film, which was eventually rewritten. Since the original film's premiere, the actor has continued to gain clout at the box office, starring in hits like "I Am Legend" and "Hancock." "MIB3" marked the 43-year-old's return to the big screen following a four-year hiatus; his last picture was the 2008 drama "Seven Pounds."

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

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