Weekend Box Office (April 9 - 11, 2010)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Fox originally claimed the number one spot with its new comedy Date Night based on Sunday estimates, but final data released on Monday showed it was nearly $2M below that mark and settled for second place behind the second session of the Warner Bros. 3D epic Clash of the Titans. Both films, along with the animated hit How To Train Your Dragon which held up incredibly well in its third round, pulled in solid amounts powering the overall marketplace to another very strong spring frame.

As expected, the mythology remake Clash of the Titans fell sharply in its second weekend falling 57% to $26.6M, according to final studio figures, boosting the cume to $110.2M after 10.5 days. 3D films have now occupied the number one spot for six straight weeks and 13 of the last 17 frames. Warner Bros. could end up with roughly $160M by the end of Clash's domestic run.

The new Steve Carell-Tina Fey film Date Night attracted an impressive turnout in second place grossing $25.2M in its first weekend of release, down $1.9M from the $27.1M estimate reported by Fox on Sunday which at the time gave it first place. Debuting in 3,374 locations, the PG-13 film about a married couple's disastrous evening out averaged a very impressive $7,471 per theater. Reviews were mixed but generally upbeat as audiences instead responded to the starpower of the two leads who have enjoyed much success in television and at the movies. In fact, Fey has had two number one hit comedies in April - 2004's Mean Girls which she wrote and co-starred in and 2008's Baby Mama. Produced for $55M, Date played as mainstream entertainment for adult audiences. On Sunday, Fox estimated a 34% Saturday-to-Sunday drop but after ticket sales were counted the fall turned out to be a much larger 49%.

The big story this weekend came in third place where the 3D animated film How To Train Your Dragon witnessed a remarkably low 14% decline in its third round for a $24.9M gross boosting the 17-day total to a terrific $133.4M. Short-sighted film industry watchers and impatient Wall Street investors prematurely dismissed Dragon and DreamWorks Animation after its less-than-stellar opening weekend two weeks ago. The company's stock dropped 8% on the first trading day after the debut with analysts lowering their estimates for the final domestic take to just $152M. Dragon will now crush that mark next weekend and looks on course to break the $200M barrier too becoming the second biggest 3D toon of all-time behind just the $293M of Up.

Beating Pixar's Oscar winner may not be possible, but outgrossing other competitors like Monsters vs. Aliens, Ice Age 3, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs makes Dragon a powerful performer. The PG-rated film was indeed slow out of the gate, but amazing word-of-mouth coupled with school holidays for spring have made Dragon the must-see film for kids and parents. Competition for families and 3D screens remains extremely light for the next five weeks so the Viking pic's strong run should continue. Reaching $250M cannot be ruled out at this point given the road ahead since Dragon will be able to earn at least five times its opening figure, if not more.

Tyler Perry's latest film Why Did I Get Married Too? followed his usual pattern - big opening, big drop. The Lionsgate release grossed $11M in its second frame tumbling 62% for a ten-day tally of $48.5M. A final take of roughly $65M seems likely. Fellow sophomore The Last Song starring Miley Cyrus fared much better declining by just 39% to $9.8M. With $42.3M in 12 days, Disney should reach a similar $65M.

The Mouse House claimed the number seven slot with its 3D juggernaut Alice in Wonderland which grossed $5.3M, off only 35%, for a $319M cume. The Johnny Depp smash now sits at number 22 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters behind Shrek the Third which hauled in $321M in 2007. The ogre returns next month with his own 3D installment.

A trio of comedies followed. The time-travel pic Hot Tub Time Machine took in $5.4M, down 33%, for a $37M total for MGM. Sony's The Bounty Hunter dipped 31% to $4.2M for a $55.9M sum to date. And the kidpic Diary of a Wimpy Kid eased by just 25% grossing $4M for Fox lifting the cume to $53.6M.

Vivendi opened the faith-based drama Letters to God in tenth place with weak results. The PG-rated film about a boy battling cancer bowed to $1.1M from 897 locations - very wide for this type of pic - for a poor $1,228 average.

The top ten films grossed $117.6M which was off 4% from last year which was Easter when Hannah Montana The Movie opened in the top spot with $32.3M; but up 51% from 2008 when Prom Night debuted at number one with $20.8M.

Compared to projections, Date Night was very close to my $26M forecast.

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

For a NEW review of Date Night visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Kick-Ass and Death at a Funeral both open.

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

# Title Apr 9 - 11 Apr 2 - 4 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Clash of the Titans $ 26,633,209 $ 61,235,105 -56.5 3,802 2 $ 7,005 $ 110,226,524 Warner Bros.
2 Date Night 25,207,599 3,374 1 7,471 25,207,599 Fox
3 How To Train Your Dragon 24,863,535 29,010,044 -14.3 4,007 3 6,205 133,404,438 Paramount
4 Why Did I Get Married Too? 11,017,379 29,289,537 -62.4 2,155 2 5,112 48,537,039 Lionsgate
5 The Last Song 9,832,326 16,007,426 -38.6 2,674 2 3,677 42,255,196 Buena Vista
6 Hot Tub Time Machine 5,431,021 8,070,716 -32.7 2,611 3 2,080 36,969,649 MGM
7 Alice in Wonderland 5,301,730 8,208,060 -35.4 2,530 6 2,096 319,009,518 Buena Vista
8 The Bounty Hunter 4,215,156 6,091,907 -30.8 2,901 4 1,453 55,916,622 Sony
9 Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3,979,641 5,302,369 -24.9 2,453 4 1,622 53,636,368 Fox
10 Letters to God 1,101,204 897 1 1,228 1,101,204 Vivendi
11 Shutter Island 885,288 1,488,403 -40.5 869 8 1,019 125,001,481 Paramount
12 Avatar 844,651 980,239 -13.8 454 17 1,860 743,688,973 Fox
13 The Ghost Writer 822,351 1,127,697 -27.1 565 8 1,455 12,293,735 Summit
14 She's Out of My League 645,893 1,516,952 -57.4 765 5 844 30,122,867 Paramount
15 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 554,661 455,977 21.6 126 4 4,402 2,183,555 Music Box
16 Green Zone 534,180 1,248,395 -57.2 614 5 870 34,218,045 Universal
17 The Runaways 469,260 166,417 182.0 204 4 2,300 2,517,227 Apparition
18 Greenberg 420,938 725,294 -42.0 171 4 2,462 2,943,653 Focus
19 Our Family Wedding 386,291 826,067 -53.2 343 5 1,126 19,360,257 Fox Searchlight
20 Hubble 3D IMAX 354,967 436,714 -18.7 41 4 8,658 2,765,774 Warner Bros.
Top 5 $ 97,554,048 $ 143,750,172 -32.1
Top 10 117,582,800 166,220,519 -29.3
Top 20 123,501,280 173,592,381 -28.9
Top 20 vs. 2009 123,501,280 130,303,643 -5.2

Last Updated: April 12, 2010 at 4:30PM ET