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May 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The only new film due to open opposite The Avengers this weekend is the comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which Fox Searchlight hopes will bring out older moviegoers the way Cocoon did nearly 30 years ago. Only 27 theaters will be screening the comedy, which stars such British acting veterans as Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson — as well as Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel. Given the film that it is competing against — which is expected to earn more than $150 million this weekend, the Los Angeles Times today (Thursday) called the matchup “an extreme case of counterprogramming” and observed that it it is “set to test the premise that American moviegoers of a certain age will go to the multiplex if there is something there for them.” The newspaper noted that while people ages 50 and older make up a third of the population, they represent only 21 percent of ticket buyers. The movie, which cost just $12 million to produce, is already a huge hit overseas, having grossed more than $70 million.