Box Office Guru Wrapup: Dragon Soars Back To The Top
Kick-Ass and Date Night round out the top three.
This weekend, it was another close race at the North American box office which saw the four-week old 3D toon How To Train Your Dragon edge out the new super hero saga Kick-Ass for the number one spot thanks to its incredible staying power. The frame's other new release, the comedy remake Death at a Funeral, performed well with a solid debut in fourth place. Sophomore comedy hit Date Night posted strong legs in third place while most holdovers did well overall.
Snatching the box office crown for the second time in its four-week run, the DreamWorks smash How To Train Your Dragon dipped only 20% to an estimated $20M propelling its cume to a stellar $158.6M after only 24 days of release. Audiences are loving Paramount's PG-rated animated film and recommending it to friends making it a leggy blockbuster that could reach $225M or more from North America alone. 3D films have led the box office for seven consecutive weeks now and have ruled over 14 of the last 18 weekends.
Opening close behind in second place was the super hero flick Kick-Ass with an estimated $19.8M from 3,065 theaters for a good $6,444 average. Many expected the violent R-rated actioner to capture the top spot with ease thanks to a wave of internet and fanboy buzz stoked by the film's strategic promotional plan which included a preview at Comic-Con last summer and a full opening night screening at South by Southwest last month. Reviews were mostly positive too and the film's 11-year-old heroine, a cursing and killing machine with lethal machine gun skills, excited the core audience just as much as she angered parental groups.
Kick-Ass delivered an opening that was certainly good, but not amazing, putting into question whether pre-release expectations were logical to begin with. Looking back at violent R-rated films opening in April, 2004's Kill Bill Vol. 2 bowed to $25.1M while the following year's Sin City debuted to $29.1M. Was it fair to think that Kick-Ass could draw in as much business?
Grosses may have taken a hit thanks to Carmike theaters not playing any Lionsgate releases currently. However, the distributor had no problem booking playdates nationwide as Kick-Ass enjoyed the fourth widest opening in company history. Lionsgate rarely launches films in more than 3,000 locations. Its only wider bows include Saw IV, Saw III, and The Forbidden Kingdom which all debuted in 3,150-3,200 theaters.
For this weekend, the super hero pic debuted to $7.7M on Friday (including the first shows that began at 10pm on Thursday night) and dipped 5% to $7.3M on Saturday. The distributor is projecting an aggressive $4.9M for Sunday which would amount to a decline of just 33% from Saturday. Final grosses to be released on Monday could be lower. Kick-Ass cost $50M to produce with Lionsgate acquiring domestic rights for $15-20M plus paying for marketing.
Those not interested in cartoon Vikings or school-age crusaders spent their money seeing Date Night which enjoyed a remarkable hold in its second weekend. The Steve Carell-Tina Fey comedy declined by only 31% to an estimated $17.3M and boosted its ten-day total to a solid $49.2M. Reaching $100M is a definite possibility for the $55M-budgeted film. Good word-of-mouth and a lack of direct competition are both helping to fuel sales.
Opening in fourth place was the Chris Rock-Martin Lawrence comedy Death at a Funeral which took in an estimated $17M from 2,459 theaters for a solid $6,913 average -- the best in the top ten. The R-rated film, a remake of a British pic from just three years ago, tells of hi-jinks that result after the death of the patriarch of a family. Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, Zoe Saldana, and AT&T pitchman Luke Wilson also star. Reviews were generally weak. Studio research showed that 56% of the audience was female and 56% was 25 or older.
Falling from first to fifth place was two-time champ Clash of the Titans which grossed an estimated $15.8M, down a respectable 41% in its third lap. Warner Bros. has banked $133M in 17 days and is headed for $160-170M. Overseas ticket buyers spent an estimated $53.6M on Perseus and pals boosting the international take to $188.7M and the worldwide haul to $321.7M. The global gross could skyrocket to $600M by the end of the run making the studio happy about its last-minute upgrade from 2D to 3D.
Miley Cyrus saw her latest project The Last Song dip by 41% to an estimated $5.8M for a cume to date of $50M giving the teen queen and Disney three straight hits breaking the half-century mark. Also surpassing $50M, but for the sixth time, was Tyler Perry who took in an estimated $4.2M with Why Did I Get Married Too?, off 62%, for a $54.9M total.
Two films tied for eighth place with estimates of $3.5M each. MGM's comedy Hot Tub Time Machine dropped just 35% upping the tally to $42.5M. Disney's Alice in Wonderland slipped by a similar 33% but has amassed $324M to date putting it at number 21 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list ahead of Shrek the Third's $321M from 2007.
Rounding out the top ten was the action-comedy The Bounty Hunter with an estimated $3.2M in its fifth round, down 24%, for a $60.4M sum for Sony.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $110.1M which was up 13% from last year 17 Again opened in the top spot with $23.7M; and up 38% from 2008 when The Forbidden Kingdom debuted at number one with $21.4M.