Weekend Box Office (April 16 - 18, 2010)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND It was another close race at the North American box office but the new super hero saga Kick-Ass edged out the four-week old 3D toon How to Train Your Dragon for the number one spot with the two separated by less than $200,000. 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.
Winning the race by a thin margin, the super hero flick Kick-Ass bowed to $19.8M from 3,065 theaters for a good $6,469 average, according to final studio figures. Many expected the violent R-rated actioner to capture the top spot by a comfortable lead 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), dipped 6% to $7.2M on Saturday, and fell by a reasonably low 31% on Sunday to $5M. Kick-Ass cost $50M to produce with Lionsgate acquiring domestic rights for $15-20M plus paying for marketing.
Snatching the runner-up spot, the DreamWorks smash How To Train Your Dragon dipped only 21% to $19.6M propelling its cume to a stellar $158.3M 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.
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 34% to $16.7M and boosted its ten-day total to a solid $48.7M. 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 $16.2M from 2,459 theaters for a solid $6,595 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 $15.4M, down a respectable 42% in its third lap. Warner Bros. has banked $132.6M in 17 days and is headed for $160-170M. Overseas ticket buyers spent $55.3M on Perseus and pals boosting the international take to $189.7M and the worldwide haul to $322M. 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 39% to $6M for a cume to date of $50.2M 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 $4.1M with Why Did I Get Married Too?, off 63%, for a $54.8M total.
Disney's Alice in Wonderland slipped by 31% to $3.7M and has amassed $324.1M to date putting it at number 21 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list ahead of Shrek the Third's $321M from 2007. MGM's comedy Hot Tub Time Machine dropped just 36% to $3.5M upping the tally to $42.4M. Rounding out the top ten was the action-comedy The Bounty Hunter with $3.1M in its fifth round, down 27%, for a $60.3M sum for Sony.
The top ten films grossed $108.1M which was up 11% from last year 17 Again opened in the top spot with $23.7M; and up 36% from 2008 when The Forbidden Kingdom debuted at number one with $21.4M.
Compared to projections, Kick-Ass did not reach my $28M forecast but Death at a Funeral opened close to my $19M prediction.
Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.
For a review of Date Night visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Losers, The Back-Up Plan, and Oceans all open.
Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:
|#||Title||Apr 16 - 18||Apr 9 - 11||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Kick-Ass||$ 19,828,687||3,065||1||$ 6,469||$ 19,828,687||Lionsgate|
|2||How To Train Your Dragon||19,633,320||24,863,535||-21.0||3,825||4||5,133||158,251,066||Paramount|
|4||Death at a Funeral||16,217,540||2,459||1||6,595||16,217,540||Sony|
|5||Clash of the Titans||15,385,491||26,633,209||-42.2||3,753||3||4,100||132,600,220||Warner Bros.|
|6||The Last Song||5,962,916||9,832,326||-39.4||2,767||3||2,155||50,187,855||Buena Vista|
|7||Why Did I Get Married Too?||4,098,898||11,017,379||-62.8||1,859||3||2,205||54,801,812||Lionsgate|
|8||Alice in Wonderland||3,656,442||5,301,730||-31.0||2,024||7||1,807||324,131,301||Buena Vista|
|9||Hot Tub Time Machine||3,490,471||5,431,021||-35.7||2,308||4||1,512||42,449,935||MGM|
|10||The Bounty Hunter||3,084,020||4,215,156||-26.8||2,475||5||1,246||60,261,888||Sony|
|11||Diary of a Wimpy Kid||2,790,042||3,979,641||-29.9||2,149||5||1,298||57,090,186||Fox|
|13||The Ghost Writer||681,271||822,351||-17.2||480||9||1,419||13,251,944||Summit|
|14||The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo||631,021||554,661||13.8||152||5||4,151||3,026,200||Music Box|
|15||Letters to God||620,580||1,101,204||-43.6||714||2||869||2,020,830||Vivendi|
|17||The Joneses||509,689||193||1||2,641||509,689||Roadside Attractions|
|18||The Perfect Game||480,000||417||1||1,151||494,000||Slowhand|
|20||Hubble 3D IMAX||307,794||354,967||-13.3||41||5||7,507||3,279,965||Warner Bros.|
|Top 5||$ 87,785,076||$ 97,554,048||-10.0|
|Top 20 vs. 2009||115,943,194||105,094,501||10.3|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: April 19, 2010 at 4:45PM ET