LOS ANGELES (AP) - Disney/Marvel's "The Avengers" should top the domestic box office for a third straight weekend, fending off wide-release newcomers with another $50 million in receipts.
It would give the money-making superheros the second-best third-weekend domestic performance in history, behind only "Avatar's" $68.5 million and just ahead of "Spider-Man's" $45 million.
With over $220 million already in the brig internationally, Universal's "Battleship," starring Liam Neeson and Rihanna, will torpedo its way into 3,700 North American theaters this weekend with a likely $35 million to $40 million debut.
With a reported $200 million price tag, the PG-13 sci-fi thriller is the second big-budget action film of the summer, taking its name from the popular Hasbro board game.
Lionsgate's ensemble comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is expecting to deliver $15 million to $18 million on its opening weekend. Based on the best-selling pregnancy book, "Expecting" stars Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Brooklyn Decker, Dennis Quaid and Chris Rock.
Warner Bros.' "Dark Shadows," starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton, will continue its struggle to remain among the living, scaring up around $15 million in its second weekend and raising its 10-day total to around $50 million.
In the wake of "Borat" and "Bruno," Sacha Baron Cohen brings his wild characterizations and offbeat humor to theaters for a third time in Paramount's R-rated comedy "The Dictator." Having already earned $4.2 million on Wednesday, the film will likely complete the top five with a weekend gross in the low teens and a five day total of around $25 million.
Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com and provides box office analysis for The Associated Press.