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This weekend, the summer movie season got off to an early and explosive start with the record-breaking debut of the action sequel Fast Five which raced to the top of the North American box office with an opening that was miles ahead of any other film's from this year. But the two other new offerings were flat out rejected by ticket buyers as the high school comedy Prom and the 3D toon Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil sparked no interest from audiences. Overall ticket sales were up sharply versus last year which came as great news for the industry which is trying desperately to generate momentum going into the potent month of May.
This weekend, the angry and not-so-angry birds of the 3D animated smash Rio held onto the top spot at the North American box office for a second weekend in a row. Results for the Easter frame's three new releases were good as the Tyler Perry comedy Madea's Big Happy Family, the circus romance Water for Elephants, and the nature documentary African Cats all connected with their respective audiences. Ticket sales for the Top 20 were up a sharp 40% from a year ago which was not a holiday session, but down a troubling 23% from 2010's record Easter weekend. Most holdovers did remain strong though.
This weekend Universal's hit kidpic Hop became the first film of 2011 to spend back-to-back weeks at number one as the bunny pic fended off competition from four new wide releases to remain the most popular film in North America. Its star Russell Brand also claimed second place with his comedy remake Arthur making the British comedian that rare star to hold the top two spots at the box office. The frame's other debuting titles had mixed results with the teen girl-led films Hanna and Soul Surfer faring well while the raunchy fantasy comedy Your Highness failed to make much of a splash. As usual, the overall box office was down by double digits compared to last year.
New releases all fared well as the April box office kicked off with the Easter-themed hit Hop which powered its way to number one playing well to family audiences. Older adults drove the action thriller Source Code to a second place debut while fright fans lined up for the new horror pic Insidious which finished in third. But overall ticket sales continued to struggle as last year's top four films alone grossed more than all films this weekend combined.
The paranoia-fueled action thriller Limitless led a trio of new releases and opened at number one with a sturdy debut. The crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer and the road comedy Paul both attracted respectable business landing in the top five but the overall marketplace once again failed to match up to last year's levels.
This weekend Sony ruled the North American box office with its fourth number one opening of the year as the alien invasion thriller Battle: Los Angeles debuted on top attracting a sizable action crowd. The stylish fairy tale pic Red Riding Hood bowed in third grossing less than expected while the animated adventure Mars Needs Moms struggled to find families with a poor launch in fifth place. The overall marketplace continued to fall behind year-ago levels as the entire weekend box office for all films in release fell below the top ten from last year.
This weekend, three new releases targeting different audience segments successfully connected with their crowds and took the top spots at the North American box office. Leading the way with older kids and families was Johnny Depp's animated comedy Rango followed by Matt Damon's sci-fi romance thriller The Adjustment Bureau which played to mature adults. Debuting in third was the romance Beastly which catered to teen girls. The weekend's fourth new release, the raunchy 80s comedy Take Me Home Tonight, opened poorly just outside of the top ten.
This weekend, distracted by Oscar hoopla, Hollywood studios tossed unimpressive new films into North American multiplexes which failed to excite moviegoers who instead drove the three-week old animated hit Gnomeo & Juliet into first place. The Owen Wilson comedy Hall Pass stumbled into second place during its opening weekend while Nicolas Cage's latest action effort Drive Angry crashed and burned with an embarrassing ninth place debut for the actor who won an Oscar 15 years ago this spring.
Liam Neeson's latest European-set single-word-titled action thriller Unknown debuted at number one over the long four-day Presidents' Day frame while the hit 3D toon Gnomeo & Juliet gave the Oscar-nominated star a run for his money thanks to terrific staying power that allowed it to follow close behind in second. The sci-fi alien flick I Am Number Four debuted in third place while fellow newcomer Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son launched in fifth with each averaging roughly $7,000. Overall ticket sales fell behind the same holiday frames from the last two years. It was the first Presidents' Day weekend in five years with no films breaking $30M.
Comedy king Adam Sandler and pop prince Justin Bieber fought over the North American box office crown with the funnyman winning a narrow victory according to studio estimates. Still, his comedy Just Go With It and the 3D concert flick Justin Bieber: Never Say Never each pulled in over $30M and were joined by the 3D animated film Gnomeo & Juliet which exceeded expectations to power the marketplace to its best showing of 2011.
With the Packers and Steelers squaring off in the Super Bowl, moviegoers avoided the multiplexes as the North American box office slumped to the third worst frame of the past two years. Of the two new releases that dared to compete against football, the collegiate thriller The Roommate fared well opening at number one by targeting young females but the older-skewing 3D action film Sanctum debuted poorly in second. The NFL championship game always commands the attention of the entire nation but this weekend's Top 20 plunged to just $84.2M falling well below recent Super Bowl sessions from the past three years.
New films with demons and assassins enjoyed moderate debuts while Oscar contenders for Best Picture scored solid sales figures but the overall North American box office remained stuck in a funk. Another snowstorm affected theaters in the Northeast but a weekend with football made audiences more available. Opening at number one with a respectable but not stellar debut was the supernatural thriller The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins which scared up an estimated $15M which was enough to lead the weak frame. The Warner Bros. release about an American sent to the Vatican to study with a priest that specializes in exorcisms averaged a decent $5,027 from 2,985 locations.
This weekend, Hollywood's current princess Natalie Portman reigned supreme over the North American box office as her new comedy No Strings Attached debuted at number one, giving the Black Swan actress two films in the top ten a week after her big Golden Globe win. With no other films opening in wide release, most holdovers fared well with awards contenders enjoying the best legs thanks to strong word-of-mouth and buzz. But overall, the marketplace remained in poor shape falling below last year's levels for the eleventh consecutive weekend.
This weekend audiences looking for super hero fun powered The Green Hornet to number one over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday frame but the overall marketplace remained sluggish with ticket sales dropping by double digits when compared to each of the last three years. The comedy The Dilemma anchored by a different dynamic duo -- Vince Vaughn and Kevin James -- debuted in second place with not-so-impressive numbers. Awards contenders rounded out the top five with each posting solid results. Driving into the number one spot with an estimated $40M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend was The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogen as the crime-fighting anti-hero with a supercharged sense of humor.
With studios dropping lumps of coal into North American multiplexes, many moviegoers stayed away over the Christmas holiday weekend as the box office fell sharply from recent years. Christmas Eve fell on a Friday helping to disrupt business, but a lack of exciting product prevented any one film from becoming a sensation. Universal saved itself from ending the year with only one number one hit with the comedy sequel Little Fockers, which topped the yuletide frame with an estimated $34M from Friday-to-Sunday. The critically panned pic grabbed $48.3M since its Wednesday debut and joined Despicable Me as the studio's only releases in 2010 to open in the top spot. Fockers averaged $9,620 from 3,536 theaters over the weekend period. Read on for the full report.
This weekend, moviegoers flocked to the North American box office as five new films entered wide release led by the sci-fi action sequel Tron Legacy which powered its way to number one by a wide margin. The kidpic Yogi Bear settled for a mediocre debut in second while the expensive star-driven romantic comedy How Do You Know flopped finishing in eighth place. Critically acclaimed awards hopefuls The Fighter and Black Swan -- both nominated for multiple Golden Globes including Best Picture-Drama -- expanded nationwide after successful play in limited release and scored solid numbers ahead of what should be lengthy runs. Despite the absence of Avatar which opened a year ago, overall ticket sales were almost equal to last year's frame.
This weekend, two big-budget new releases topped the North American box office but moviegoers were not too enthusiastic about either one. Debuting at number one was the fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader while the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie spy flick The Tourist opened in second place. The overall marketplace remained sluggish as ticket buyers continued to wait for that one blockbuster that truly excites them.
This weekend, the wizard sequel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 won a narrow victory and held onto the top spot at the North American box office over a busy Thanksgiving holiday frame with an estimated $50.3M in its second weekend of release. Tumbling an expected 60% from its debut, the Warner Bros. smash raised its ten-day domestic tally to an impressive $220.4M. Compared to the last installment to open on a November Friday - 2005's Goblet of Fire - Hallows opened 22% better but after ten days the lead has been cut to just 10%. Goblet even grossed more on its second weekend when it took in $54.7M over the same turkey session for a 47% decline.
This weekend, wizard fans united and sent the much-hyped fantasy sequel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 soaring to the number one spot with a massive opening weekend of $125.1M, according to estimates, making it the highest-grossing debut ever in the seven-film series. Launching ultrawide in 4,125 theaters, including a record 239 IMAX locations, the dark PG-13 adventure averaged a sensational $30,332 per site and ranks as the sixth best opening weekend of all-time behind The Dark Knight ($158.4M), Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M), The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142.8M), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($135.6M), and this year's Iron Man 2 ($128.1M).