Weekend Box Office (April 2 - 4, 2010)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Proving it could attract big bucks from a 2D action film converted to 3D, Warner Bros. conquered the global box office with its epic remake Clash of the Titans which pulled in over $100M from theaters across the world powered by higher-priced tickets for the upgraded format. Audiences in North America had plenty of extra dollars to spare as Tyler Perry's latest hit Why Did I Get Married Too? and the new Miley Cyrus drama The Last Song both connected with their respective fan bases enjoying solid openings. Add in a strong second frame for the 3D toon How To Train Your Dragon and the box office shattered records to become the largest Easter weekend in history as well as the biggest frame ever in the month of April.

3D ruled once again as Clash of the Titans flexed major muscles with a $61.2M debut, according to final studio figures, making it the second highest opening weekend ever in April. The PG-13 film's total counting Thursday night's pre-midnight showtimes that began at 8pm reached an impressive $63.9M. The Greek mythology pic averaged a superb $16,213 from 3,777 theaters including 1,800 that offered 3D screens with added surcharges as high as $5 per ticket. Titans was intended to be a regular 2D release but was converted to 3D which opened the door to higher revenue potential. But with 3D films How to Train Your Dragon and Alice in Wonderland already on the calendar, Warner Bros. had to fight hard to secure 3D screens and even used analog equipment in order to lock in playdates.

Reviews were mostly negative with many critics highlighting how little of the film actually makes entertaining use of the extra-dimensional format. But the studio's marketing materials sold Clash as an epic event film and the 3D element certainly boosted interest in the short-term. Word-of-mouth from moviegoers will be the key to the film's future as marketing can only open the film. Buzz will have to carry it the rest of the way. Still, Clash powered its way to the second best April bow ever trailing only Fast & Furious which debuted to $71M this weekend a year ago which was not the Easter frame.

Overseas, the Perseus adventure collected an estimated $44.2M from 15 territories bringing its global bow to a massive $108M. 3D screens represented 30% of the venues but 55% of the gross. Titans was number one in all markets with several major countries still to open in the coming days like France, Germany, and Russia.

Tyler Perry scored the biggest non-Madea opening of his career with his first sequel Why Did I Get Married Too? which bowed to $29.3M from 2,155 theaters for a sensational $13,591 average. The PG-13 followup on the filmmaker's number one hit from 2007 reunited the cast including Perry and Janet Jackson and shifted the setting from a cold winter cabin to a tropical Bahamas resort. Too's opening was 37% bigger than the $21.4M bow of the first Married which was an October release. Perry's latest hit even came close to the $34.3M debut of last fall's mostly white couples-having-troubles comedy Couples Retreat despite playing in 845 fewer theaters.

Like all of Perry's films, the new Married skewed toward an audience of mature black women. Studio research showed that 80% of the crowd was female, 75% was over 25, and 80% was African American. The director consistently brings his fan base out to theaters with a new offering twice a year. His past eight films have averaged a domestic gross of $53M while being produced for budgets of under $16M. For the month of April, Too ranks as the seventh biggest opener ever and the largest for a film opening in less than 3,000 theaters. Next up for the movie mogul is directing a different writer's story with For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf featuring Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Whoopi Goldberg debuting over Martin Luther King weekend next January.

Following a not-so-ferocious opening, the DreamWorks 3D animated film How To Train Your Dragon took advantage of strong word-of-mouth to enjoy the smallest decline in the top ten dipping only 34% to $29M. All others fell by more than 40%. The PG-rated film boosted its total to an encouraging $92.1M after ten days in theaters and is well-positioned to fly much higher in the weeks ahead. Compared to last spring's 3D offering from DreamWorks Monsters vs. Aliens, Dragon opened 26% behind but after ten days the cume is now trailing by just 12%. And with virtually zero competition for young kids from April's new releases, the Paramount release will easily outgross other non-sequel 3D kidpics like A Christmas Carol, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and G-Force. The final domestic gross for the $165M production could reach $175-185M with overseas markets kicking in an even greater tally.

Miley Cyrus took an important step in her career proving she can pull in business even when not playing Hannah Montana. The teen queen's new romance The Last Song debuted to $16M over three days and $25.4M across its five-day Wednesday-to-Sunday debut period. Disney launched the film mid-week since much of the target audience of young girls was available thanks to spring school closings and the Good Friday holiday. Playing in 2,673 locations, the PG-rated pic averaged a solid $5,989 over three days and $9,501 over five days. Song, like most movies based on books by popular author Nicholas Sparks, was slammed by critics.

Disney's 3D smash Alice in Wonderland followed with $8.2M boosting the total to a stunning $309.7M. With two newer 3D films now in wide release, the Johnny Depp vehicle suffered the worst decline of its run tumbling 54%. But Alice climbed up to number 28 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters surpassing the $309.4M of 2007's Disney-Depp project Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. A final tally of roughly $325M seems likely for Tim Burton's latest venture.

The R-rated comedy Hot Tub Time Machine held up reasonably well in its second weekend dropping 42% to $8.1M. MGM has grossed a lukewarm $27.9M in ten days and should finish with $40-45M. Sony's The Bounty Hunter dropped 49% to $6.1M raising the cume for the Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler action comedy to a solid $48.9M. The middle school comedy Diary of a Wimpy Kid took in $5.3M, off 48%, giving Fox $46M to date.

Paramount rounded out the top ten with a pair of films that grossed $1.5M a piece. The relationship comedy She's Out of My League stumbled 57% and has laughed up $28.7M thus far. Martin Scorsese's psychological thriller Shutter Island was down 53% in its seventh round and lifted the blockbuster sum to $123.4M.

The top ten films grossed $166.2M which was up a healthy 36% from last year's Easter frame when Hannah Montana The Movie opened in the top spot with $32.3M; and up a stellar 76% from 2008 when Horton Hears a Who remained at number one over the holiday with $24.6M.

Compared to projections, Clash of the Titans opened very close to my $61M forecast. Why Did I Get Married Too? debuted ahead of my $26M prediction while The Last Song bowed on target with my $16M projection.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter. Check the NEW box office chart for the Top April Openings.

For a NEW review of Clash of the Titans visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Date Night opens as the frame's only new wide release.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Apr 2 - 4 Mar 26 - 28 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Clash of the Titans $ 61,235,105 3,777 1 $ 16,213 $ 63,890,110 Warner Bros.
2 Why Did I Get Married Too? 29,289,537 2,155 1 13,591 29,289,537 Lionsgate
3 How To Train Your Dragon 29,010,044 43,732,319 -33.7 4,060 2 7,145 92,135,916 Paramount
4 The Last Song 16,007,426 2,673 1 5,989 25,395,041 Buena Vista
5 Alice in Wonderland 8,208,060 17,707,858 -53.6 2,980 5 2,754 309,733,753 Buena Vista
6 Hot Tub Time Machine 8,070,716 14,020,502 -42.4 2,771 2 2,913 27,910,213 MGM
7 The Bounty Hunter 6,091,907 12,006,731 -49.3 3,118 3 1,954 48,853,453 Sony
8 Diary of a Wimpy Kid 5,302,369 10,121,961 -47.6 2,842 3 1,866 46,013,347 Fox
9 She's Out of My League 1,516,952 3,512,218 -56.8 1,390 4 1,091 28,712,974 Paramount
10 Shutter Island 1,488,403 3,187,487 -53.3 1,356 7 1,098 123,440,937 Paramount
11 Green Zone 1,248,395 3,384,480 -63.1 1,242 4 1,005 33,118,420 Universal
12 The Ghost Writer 1,127,697 1,696,784 -33.5 656 7 1,719 11,016,593 Summit
13 Avatar 980,239 2,047,475 -52.1 511 16 1,918 742,332,678 Fox
14 Our Family Wedding 826,067 2,352,539 -64.9 722 4 1,144 18,602,225 Fox Searchlight
15 Greenberg 725,294 1,021,151 -29.0 186 3 3,899 2,293,918 Focus
16 Repo Men 576,180 3,010,515 -80.9 873 3 660 13,156,255 Universal
17 Chloe 512,871 900,688 -43.1 339 2 1,513 1,797,090 Sony Classics
18 Remember Me 482,428 1,935,640 -75.1 906 4 532 18,242,661 Summit
19 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 455,977 341,470 33.5 87 3 5,241 1,438,838 Music Box
20 Hubble 3D IMAX 436,714 382,162 14.3 40 3 10,918 1,968,671 Warner Bros.
Top 5 $ 143,750,172 $ 97,589,371 47.3
Top 10 166,220,519 113,036,610 47.1
Top 20 173,592,381 124,094,678 39.9
Top 20 vs. Easter 2009 173,592,381 130,303,643 33.2

Last Updated: April 5, 2010 at 8:00PM ET