Weekend Box Office (April 23 - 25, 2010)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND With Hollywood dumping its weakest films into theaters, moviegoers understandably stayed away from the multiplexes as the North American box office slumped to its lowest level of the year. New releases The Back-up Plan and The Losers generated unimpressive results allowing the five-week old 3D cartoon How to Train Your Dragon to reclaim the number one spot thanks to its continued durability. For the first time all year the top ten films failed to gross at least $90M.

After coming within a hair of nabbing the box office crown last weekend, How To Train Your Dragon won a decisive victory this time grossing $15.4M in its fifth weekend for another slim decline of only 22%, according to final studio figures. The DreamWorks blockbuster has now amassed a fantastic $178.3M and should bust through the $200M mark the same weekend as when Paramount stablemate Iron Man 2 arrives to kick off the summer movie season. The Viking toon is still on course to finish its run in the neighborhood of $225M which would be more than five times its opening weekend take thanks to amazing legs. Dragon's drops to date have been 34%, 14%, 21%, and 22%.

Fans didn't exactly turn out in large numbers for Jennifer Lopez who returned to theaters with her first major wide release in five years. Her pregnancy comedy The Back-up Plan collected $12.2M from a very wide 3,280 locations for a lackluster $3,720 average. Slammed by poor reviews, the PG-13 film about a woman who finds Mr. Right after being impregnated artificially played mostly to adult women, and failed to appeal to a broader audience. Females made up 71% of the audience, 57% were over 30, and 21% were Latino, according to distributor CBS Films. This is only the company's second release following the disastrous Brendan Fraser-Harrison Ford flop Extraordinary Measures which debuted to a terrible $6M and $2,363 average in January.

Lopez has generally been a reliable draw at the box office with her films and the opening of Plan does not necessarily mean she no longer has box office clout any more. The generic story, lack of additional starpower, and poor marks from critics all helped to prevent an opening like those of her past films. The last major Lopez vehicle was 2005's Monster-in-Law which bowed at number one with $23.1M in May, a month usually topped by big-budget action films each weekend.

Audiences made Date Night the number three choice again this weekend as the Steve Carell-Tina Fey comedy slipped just 37% to $10.5M. Fox has laughed up a solid $63.3M in 17 days and could be headed for the $90M mark.

Opening in fourth with weak results was the action film The Losers with $9.4M from 2,936 locations for a poor $3,204 average. The Warner Bros. release featuring Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan didn't have the starpower to pull in paying audiences and the story involving a group of renegade ex-soldiers seeking revenge on a criminal mastermind failed to spark any interest. Reviews were mixed for the PG-13 pic.

Kick-Ass stumbled in its second weekend falling 53% to $9.3M giving the super hero flick $34.7M in ten days. Lionsgate should end up with roughly $55M from its much-buzzed-about action film. The 3D action pic Clash of the Titans grossed $8.9M, off 42%, pushing the total for Warner Bros. up to $145.6M. Sony's comedy remake Death at a Funeral tumbled 51% in its second weekend to $8M. With $28.5M in ten days, the Chris Rock-Martin Lawrence film should finish its run with $45-50M.

Disney's new underwater documentary Oceans scored the best per-theater average of any film in wide release this weekend. The G-rated pic debuted in moderate national release with 1,206 locations and grossed $6.1M for a $5,024 average. Add in grosses from the Thursday opening on Earth Day when it ranked number one in the marketplace and the four-day cume stands at $8.5M. On a per-theater basis, the bow was almost identical to the studio's doc from this same frame last year when Earth bowed to $8.8M from a wider debut in 1,804 sites for a $4,892 average.

The Mouse House rounded out the top ten with a pair of hits. The Miley Cyrus teen romance The Last Song dropped 37% to $3.8M for a $55.5M total to date. Alice in Wonderland, the biggest non-Pandora 3D movie of all-time, fell 38% to $2.3M boosting the total to $327.5M.

The top ten films grossed $85.8M which was down 15% from last year when Obsessed opened in the top spot with $28.6M; but up 13% from 2008 when Baby Mama debuted at number one with $17.4M.

Compared to projections, The Back-up Plan was on target with my $13M forecast, but The Losers debuted well below my $14M prediction. Oceans was close to my $5M projection.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

For a NEW review of The Losers visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when A Nightmare on Elm Street and Furry Vengeance both open.

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

# Title Apr 23 - 25 Apr 16 - 18 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 How To Train Your Dragon $ 15,350,213 $ 19,633,320 -21.8 3,665 5 $ 4,188 $ 178,345,927 Paramount
2 The Back-up Plan 12,201,710 3,280 1 3,720 12,201,710 CBS
3 Date Night 10,461,223 16,720,038 -37.4 3,294 3 3,176 63,332,819 Fox
4 The Losers 9,406,348 2,936 1 3,204 9,406,348 Warner Bros.
5 Kick-Ass 9,342,398 19,828,687 -52.9 3,065 2 3,048 34,708,222 Lionsgate
6 Clash of the Titans 8,924,180 15,385,491 -42.0 3,271 4 2,728 145,563,557 Warner Bros.
7 Death at a Funeral 8,022,762 16,217,540 -50.5 2,459 2 3,263 28,471,939 Sony
8 Oceans 6,058,958 1,206 1 5,024 8,525,488 Buena Vista
9 The Last Song 3,760,816 5,962,916 -36.9 2,794 4 1,346 55,459,487 Buena Vista
10 Alice in Wonderland 2,264,097 3,656,442 -38.1 1,385 8 1,635 327,537,023 Buena Vista
11 Hot Tub Time Machine 2,007,125 3,490,471 -42.5 1,787 5 1,123 45,730,500 MGM
12 Diary of a Wimpy Kid 1,886,464 2,790,042 -32.4 1,605 6 1,175 59,628,408 Fox
13 Why Did I Get Married Too? 1,727,505 4,098,898 -57.9 1,251 4 1,381 57,484,421 Lionsgate
14 The Bounty Hunter 1,570,695 3,084,020 -49.1 1,581 6 993 62,742,023 Sony
15 Avatar 920,204 1,002,814 -8.2 421 19 2,186 746,365,137 Fox
16 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 621,749 631,021 -1.5 181 6 3,435 3,886,128 Music Box
17 The Ghost Writer 497,257 681,271 -27.0 445 10 1,117 13,984,486 Summit
18 Hubble 3D IMAX 394,977 307,300 28.5 47 6 8,404 3,928,045 Warner Bros.
19 The Secret in Their Eyes 360,056 167,866 114.5 33 2 10,911 592,864 Sony Classics
20 City Island 314,007 260,755 20.4 77 6 4,078 1,240,311 Anchor Bay
Top 5 $ 56,761,892 $ 87,785,076 -35.3
Top 10 85,792,705 108,077,823 -20.6
Top 20 96,092,744 115,943,194 -17.1
Top 20 vs. 2009 96,092,744 110,147,730 -12.8

Last Updated: April 26, 2010 at 5:55PM ET