‘Battleship’ couldn’t sink it, nor could ‘Dark Shadows’ take a bite out of ‘The Avengers.’ It took some ‘Men in Black’ to bring the superheroes down off the top spot for the first time in 3 weeks.

Box office reports have the Will Smith driven film earning $18 milion in its opening Friday night giving industry watchers to predict the film will bring in a 4-day weekend box office gross within the $75-$80 million range. This is far below of initial forecast by Sony of $90 million.

In comparison, ‘The Avengers’ brought in $9.7 million in its third week outing projecting a 4-day today of $46-$48 mllion. This ups the overall domestic gross of the Marvel super team movie to an impressive $486 million which puts it in the position to reach the $500 million mark in 23 to 24 days, faster than any other movie. The current record is held by ‘The Dark Knight’ which reached this accomplishment in 32 days.

Although ‘Men in Black III’ was able to take the number one spot, it is by no means yet considered a blockbuster hit. The film reportedly cost $225 million to make (rival studios say more like $300 million) so in order for Sony to make any money off the film, it needs to bring in twice as much at the box office.

Sony is optimistic with the movie as the studio reports that overseas ‘Men in Black III’ is performing well especially in Russia. It outperformed the opening day numbers for ‘The Avengers’ and accounted for 85% of the Russian box office for that day. Critics, however, tell Deadine that “despite great tracking internationally, their midweek openings in Australia, France, Korea, and Germany are mostly behind ‘Battleship’ or ‘John Carter.’ ” Ouch!

This doesn’t deter Sony as they are confident in the family aspect the movie brings. “All around the world, the feeling is there is a big family audience which will be coming out over the weekend,” the studio stated yesterday, “While Western Europe continues to work to overcome some beautiful weather, we have the benefit of a holiday on Monday in various markets which should help boost our Sunday results there… Give us some time to breathe here (in North America) and wait for the kids to come out. Today will be good but Sat-Sun-Mon great.”

And if you’re wondering about the Oren Peli written ‘Chernobyl Diaries,’ the found footage film came in third with a $3.5 million opening day take.

Did you see ‘Men in Black? If you haven’t, make sure you read Dave Taylor’s review here!