Universal's Battleship promptly sailed into the doldrums as it opened domestically this weekend and promptly found itself swamped by the backwash of The Avengers , which continued to set box office records in its third week. The superhero blockbuster, which sold more tickets in its first and second week than any film in history, nabbed a third-week record of $55.1 million, according to studio estimates. It also added another $56 million from overseas, bringing its worldwide gross to $1.18 billion, the most ever earned by a Disney film. But Battleship , the boardgame-to-movie sci-fi epic, came in at the low end of forecasts with just $25.3 million. Ordinarily that figure would have been regarded as a disaster for Universal, which had reportedly pumped more than $200 million into the production and another $100 million into marketing it. But the film has already earned $220 million overseas, where it opened early, softening the blow to Universal. It is still likely to end up a loser, but not a shocking one. Slammed on each side by the two blockbuster productions, Paramount's Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator wound up with around $17.4 million -- $24 million if receipts for Wednesday and Thursday are included. Against such overpowering competition, the movie probably stood as much of a chance of becoming a hit as North African dictators have had of remaining in power.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. The Avengers , Disney/Marvel, $55.1 million; 2. Battleship, Universal, $25.3 million; 3. The Dictator, Paramount, $17.4 million; 4. Dark Shadows , Warner Bros., $12.8 million; 5. What to Expect When You're Expecting , Lionsgate, $10.5 million; 6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel , Fox Searchlight, $3.3 million; 7. The Hunger Games , Lionsgate, $3 million; 8. Think Like a Man , Sony/Screen Gems; $2.7 million; 9. The Lucky One , Warner Bros., $1.8 million; 10. The Pirates! Band of Misfits , Sony/Aardman, $1.5 million.