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Jennifer Lopez/WHAT TO EXPECT, THE DICTATOR: Box Office Duds

Jennifer Lopez What to Expect When You're Expecting
Jennifer Lopez, What to Expect When You're Expecting

Still going strong, The Avengers is on its third weekend out. Yet, the domestic box office is expected to be down 18 percent compared to last year because of three weak new entries: Peter Berg / Taylor Kitsch's megabudgeted Battleship barely managed to stay afloat on Friday, while Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator (which opened on Wed.) and Kirk Jones' all-star ensemble (Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Chace Crawford, etc.) What to Expect When You're Expecting performed below expectations. [See Box Office: BATTLESHIP bombs.]

The Dictator grossed an estimated $5.5 million at 3,008 theaters on Friday, for an expected weekend total of $16 million, as per Deadline.com. Sacha Baron Cohen's R-rated comedy will thus reach a cume of $23 million after five days. For comparison's sake, Bruno – which was considered a major box office disappointment following Borat – opened with $30.61 million on its first weekend out in July 2009.

Supporting Baron Cohen in The Dictator are Anna Faris, Oscar winner Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's Megan Fox in a cameo as herself. Larry Charles directed.

All-star cast unable to boost What to Expect When You're Expecting

Lionsgate's What to Expect When You're Expecting raked in an estimated $4.4 million at 3,021 sites, for an estimated weekend total of $12m. That's a paltry sum – and well below expectations – for a movie featuring the likes of Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Chace Crawford, especially one that cost a reported $40m.

Also in the What to Expect When You're Expecting cast: Brooklyn Decker (also of the underperforming Battleship), Twilight's Anna Kendrick, Ben Falcone, Glee's Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, 300's Rodrigo Santoro, Joe Manganiello, Bridesmaids' Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Megan Mullaly.

Rounding out the top five movies was Tim Burton / Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows, last weekend's box office dud. Dark Shadows is expected to score $11.5 million over the weekend, after earnings of $3.7 million on Friday. The film's cume will likely fail to reach the $50m mark. Dark Shadows' budget figures remain fuzzy, but most reports have it at around $150m.

Remember, those are early, rough estimates. Official Friday estimates will be released Saturday morning. Weekend estimates come out on Sunday. Box-office actuals will be released on Monday.

In addition to Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows features three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Love Field) and Chloë Grace Moretz (recently cast in the Carrie remake), plus Tim Burton's companion and two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings of the Dove, The King's Speech), Eva Green, Jonny Lee Miller, Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children), Bella Heathcote, Gulliver McGrath, Michael Shannon, rock legend Alice Cooper, and veteran Hammer Dracula Christopher Lee.

Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers features Captain America: The First Avenger's Chris Evans as Captain America, two-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin, Tropic Thunder) as Iron Man, Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right) as the Incredible Hulk, He's Just Not That into You's Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, and Snow White and the Huntsman's Chris Hemsworth as Thor.

Also: two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town) as Hawkeye, The Deep Blue Sea's Tom Hiddleston as Loki, The Storm Awaits' Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Pulp Fiction Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love) as Pepper Potts, and Much Ado About Nothing's Clark Gregg as agent Phil Coulson.

And finally: Stellan Skarsgård, Powers Boothe, Alexis Denisof, veteran Jenny Agutter (Walkabout / Logan's Run), and Deep End director / Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski, in addition to the voices of Paul Bettany and Lou Ferrigno.

Jennifer Lopez / What to Expect When You're Expecting picture: Melissa Moseley / Lionsgate.

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