The big-screen debut of DC Comics' "emerald knight" may have been #1 at the box office over the weekend but it failed to gather as much green as most observers had hoped. "Green Lantern" generated an estimated $52.6 million in its debut weekend, less than the opening numbers for superhero flicks "Thor" and "X-Men: First Class" earlier this year.

The heavily marketed potential franchise starter, which stars Ryan Reynolds, cost an estimated $200 million to produce. To put the numbers in perspective, fewer people saw "Green Lantern" on opening weekend than the film adaptations of lesser known superheroes like "Daredevil" and "Ghost Rider."

And critics were not kind to the film. "Green Lantern is a new primer on how not to make a comic book movie ... flat FX, smirky acting, clunky writing and clueless direction," Rolling Stone wrote.

"Mr. Popper's Penguins" was also something of a disappointment relative to previous Jim Carrey comedies. The film, based on the classic book of the same name, opened with $18.2 million, which wasn't enough to beat last week's #1 movie, "Super 8." J.J. Abrams' throwback homage to '80s movies like "E.T." earned another $21.2 million in its second weekend for a $72.7 million total.

"X-Men: First Class" was #4 over the weekend with $11.5 million, for a $199.9 million total. While the comic-book flick's numbers are lower than most of the movies in the mutant-hero franchise, the reboot/prequel hybrid has enjoyed the best critical response for an "X-Men" movie since "X2."

"The Hangover 2" rounded out the top five with $9.6 million, for a $232.7 million total. And this weekend's new releases include Disney/Pixar's "Cars 2" and the Cameron Diaz comedy "Bad Teacher." Michael Bay's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" follows on Wednesday, June 29.

Check out everything we've got on "Green Lantern."

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