By Darren Franich
Updated June 19, 2011 at 06:13 PM EDT

It wasn’t quite the brightest day or the blackest night for Green Lantern, which took in an estimated $52.7 million in its opening weekend. That’s good enough for a first-place finish, but it’s still a disappointing showing — the franchise-baiting film has a $200 million budget, and came equipped with an expensive marketing campaign. According to early estimates, Lantern ticket sales dropped precipitously from Friday ($21.6 million) to Saturday ($16.8 million), which indicates some negative audience buzz to match the harsh reviews. It’s the lowest opening for a superhero film this summer, beneath both X-Men: First Class ($56 million) and Thor ($66 million.)

The film seems to have had a problem expanding beyond the core comic book constituency: According to studio estimates, the Lantern audience skewed male (64%) and older (63% over 25 years old.) The film has a Cinemascore grade of B, although since the under-18 audience gave it a B+, it’s possible that the film’s Sunday grosses will bounce a little from all the teenagers forcing their beleaguered fathers into the theater. It’ll be interesting to see how Green Lantern performs next weekend, when the family-skewing Cars 2 opens, but the film’s box office hopes may now rest squarely on its international grosses. (Good news: the global audience has recently shown a preference for semi-inscrutable 3D fantasias.)

The combined might of Jim Carrey and flightless waterfowl didn’t attract too many audiences to the film’s other new wide release, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which wound up in third place with $18.2 million. Popper’s earned a A- Cinemascore grade, and it could certainly benefit from a Father’s Day bump, but it’s further proof that Carrey is no longer a sure-thing box office attraction.

Popper’s actually came in second place on Friday, but last weekend’s first-place finisher Super 8 surged ahead to take second place for the weekend. With an estimated $21.3 weekend gross, Super 8 fell only 40% from its opening frame, for a total gross of $72.7 million. (Notably, Super 8 actually expanded into 29 more theaters in its second weekend.)

X-Men: First Class landed in fourth place with $11.5 million, a percentage drop of 52.3 percent. The mutant preboot has earned about $120 million, which makes it the highest-grossing film ever made about the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Hangover Part II continued to impress in its fourth weekend, landing in fifth place with $9.6 million. The film has a $232 million domestic total, the largest of the year so far.

In limited release, The Art of Getting By earned an unimpressive $700,000 in 610 theaters, with a $1,148 per-screen average, for a 14th place finish. Conversely, Midnight in Paris continues to impress on the indie scene: the Woody Allen film earned $5.2 million in its fifth weekend in release, with a bountiful $5,045 per-screen average from 1,038 theaters.

Next week, Cars 2 looks to continue Pixar’s unbroken streak of box office domination, and Bad Teacher looks to attract everyone who secretly wants to see Cameron Diaz throw basketballs at the target audience for Cars 2.

1. Green Lantern — $52.7

2. Super 8 — $21.3 mil

3. Mr. Popper’s Penguins — $18.2 mil

4. X-Men: First Class — $11.5 mil

5. The Hangover Part II — $9.6 mil

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich