By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Romantic comedy "Think Like a Man" easily beat four new films to win the U.S. and Canadian box office race for a second time while superhero movie "The Avengers" stormed into overseas theaters with record-breaking sales.
"Think Like a Man" led domestic charts with an $18.0 million total from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters on Sunday. New movies including adult comedy "The Five-Year Engagement" didn't come close, each grabbing about $11 million or less.
Big-budget, effects-filled "Avengers" hauled in a massive $178.4 million since Wednesday from theaters in 39 international markets, Walt Disney Co said. The 3D film from Disney's Marvel studio set opening-weekend records in 12 territories including Mexico and Brazil and opening-day records in four countries.
"Avengers" reaches North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters on Friday to kick off the summer movie season. Box office forecasters predict super-sized sales that will rival this year's record set by teen death match drama "The Hunger Games," a blockbuster that debuted in March with $152.5 million domestically.
Anticipation for "Avengers" likely kept many filmgoers home from multiplexes this weekend, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com. Overall ticket sales slumped 30 percent from the same weekend last year.
"It just seemed like audiences are saving their time and money for next weekend" and the "Avengers" debut, he said.
"Think Like a Man" brought its 10-day sales to $60.9 million. The movie features an ensemble cast and is based on a best-selling relationship guide by comedian Steve Harvey.
Among the newcomers, animated family film "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" performed best with $11.4 million and second place. The film cost about $55 million to make. Total sales overseas, where the movie has been playing since late March, rang up at $75.1 million through Sunday.
Close behind in third place, love story "The Lucky One" took in $11.32 million domestically during its second weekend in theaters.
Action movie "The Hunger Games" slipped to fourth with $11.25 million. Worldwide sales to date reached $601 million, distributor Lions Gate Entertainment Corp said.
"Five-Year Engagement" opened at a disappointing No. 5 with $11.2 million, slightly below projections by Universal Pictures for the low-teens. The movie stars Jason Segel and Emily Blunt as a couple whose walk down the aisle runs into repeated interruptions. Audiences had a lukewarm reception, grading the movie a "B-minus" in polling by survey firm CinemaScore.
Universal and privately held Relativity Media produced "Five-Year Engagement" for about $30 million. "A reasonably priced film that slightly underperforms is not the worst thing in world," said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of distribution.
New thriller "Safe" secured $7.7 million and the No. 6 slot. The movie stars Jason Statham as a former elite agent who takes on a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl. Another new thriller, "The Raven" starring John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe, landed in seventh place with $7.3 million.
Sony Corp's film studio distributed "Think Like a Man" and "Pirates! Band of Misfits." Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. studio released "The Lucky One." "The Five-Year Engagement" was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp released "Hunger Games" and "Safe." Privately held Relativity Media released "The Raven" in the United States, and Alliance Films distributed the movie in Canada.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Walsh)