The Croods and Olympus Has Fallen Have Strong Box Office Debuts

The Croods and Olympus Has Fallen Have Strong Box Office DebutsThe North American box office had a solid weekend as the animated comedy The Croods and the action thriller Olympus Has Fallen both had excellent debuts, while James Franco was a top ten double threat thanks to the continuing success of the blockbuster hit Oz The Great and Powerful and the expansion of the low-budget indie flick Spring Breakers. Despite all this, the box office was down approximately 32% from last year at this time when The Hunger Games opened to a fantastic $152 million.

The box office was long overdue for a new 3D animated feature with across-the-board appeal, so it came as no surprise that The Croods had such a big opening. Advertising for the $135 million Dreamworks Animation production, the first to be released by Fox under a new distribution agreement, was practically everywhere one could look in the weeks and months leading up to the film’s arrival on 4,046 screens (3,000 of which were 3D equipped).Critics liked the prehistoric comedy featuring the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, and it appears that moviegoers were also receptive to the feature as witnessed by its 63% jump in business from Friday-to-Saturday and an estimated $44.7 million gross in the first three days of release. Throw an additional $62 million from overseas debuts and you have a weekend just north of $107 million. With no new competition on the horizon, The Croods should have a healthy box office run ahead of itself over the next few weeks.

If terrorists can get to the President of the United States on Air Force One and take him hostage, why not march right into where he lives and do the same? The latter is the premise for the nation’s number two movie Olympus Has Fallen. The thriller, which stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett, is directed by Antoine Fuqua (Tears of the Sun, Training Day) and attacked 3,098 screens to earn an explosive $30.5 million in its first three days. The debut was a record opener for distributor FilmDistrict, whose biggest opener to date was the November 2012 launch of Red Dawn ($14.2 million). The opening was also a personal best for Fuqua, whose biggest opener was the $22 million opening for Training Day twelve years ago.

Read our Olympus Has Fallen review.

Thanks to the arrival of The Croods, it was to be expected that Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful would abdicate the box office throne. Still, the Sam Raimi feature managed to have a pretty solid third weekend on 3,805 screens. Off 46% from its sophomore session, Oz earned an estimated $22 million to bring its 17-day total to $177.5 million. Overseas totals currently stand at $179 million. It should pass the $200 million mark within the next week or so and could wind down its run near the $220 million mark.

In fourth place was the Halle Berry thriller The Call, which also had a decent hold in business. The film was off 49% in its second round on 2,507 screens to earn an estimated $8.7 million. To date, The Call has earned a decent $31 million and should finish between $45-50 million in domestic sales.

Fifth place went to another new film on the scene, the Tina Fey and Paul Rudd comedy Admission. The $13 million production from Focus Features was largely dismissed by critics and ignored by audiences. Arriving on 2,160 screens, Admission could only muster a meek $6.4 million in its first three days.

Just outside the top five while playing on only 1,104 screens was the controversial crime comedy/thriller Spring Breakers. The R-rated Harmony Korine flick rode the wave of publicity and an explosive limited release last weekend to earn a solid $5 million in its first three days of wide release. Where the $2 million feature goes from here is anyone’s guess, although the drop in business from Friday-to-Saturday may be an indicator that the direction it goes from here will be down the charts.

The remainder of the top ten is as follows:

7. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner) $4.2 million (-58%); $17.3 million

8. Jack the Giant Slayer (Warner) $2.9 million (-53%); $59 million

9. Identity Thief (Universal) $2.5 million (-42%); $127.7 million

10. Snitch (Lionsgate) $1.9 million (-45%); $40.3 million

Next weekend, G.I.Joe: Retaliation makes its delayed debut on Thursday in hopes of repeating the success of Olympus Has Fallen and possibly toppling The Croods. It will be joined by the big screen adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, and Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor on Friday.

– Shawn Fitzgerald

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