Dragon Nabs Top Weekend Box Office Position Again

So, what did you do this weekend? Catch up on errands or visit with friends? Watch your new Blu-ray of Avatar, the NBA or NHL playoffs, or the excellent new HBO film You Don’t Know Jack?

If the weekend box office estimates are any indication, one thing you did not do was head out to your local multiplex. While last weekend showed signs of life thanks to the debuts of Kick-Ass and Death at a Funeral along with holdovers How to Train Your Dragon and Date Night, this weekend was borderline comatose. Two wide releases, Jennifer Lopez’s The Back Up Plan and Warner’s The Losers, did terrible business while Disney’s nature Earth Day timed documentary Oceans fared better in a smaller release. The box office dropped a sizeable 35% from last weekend as ticket buyers and studios began their two-week wait for the start of the summer movie season to be ushered in by Iron Man 2.

Climbing back into the number one spot in its fifth weekend was the Dreamworks 3D Animated hit How to Train Your Dragon, pulling in an estimated $15 million in sales to bring its domestic total near the $178 million mark. The weekend gross for Dragon was the lowest for a number one film in 2010 thus far. The film should pass the $191 million grossed by last spring’s animated 3D release from Paramount/Dreamworks Monsters vs. Aliens within the next two weeks.

Jennifer Lopez returned to the big screen this past weekend with her romantic comedy The Back Up Plan, but its dire $12.25 million haul has to make one wonder why she bothered (actually, the horrendous TV ads and trailers accomplished that feat). Another stinker from CBS Pictures following the Harrison Ford bomb Extraordinary Measures this past January, Lopez’ first major film in a few years was met with horrific reviews and indifference from her usually reliable fan base who have either realized that a DVD screener of the movie is widely available online for free or that the diva has been making the same crappy movie over and over again (1998’s Out of Sight aside). One way or the other, don’t expect this movie to last beyond next Sunday (if that long) at the box office.

Fox’s comedy Date Night stayed in third position for the second weekend in a row, courting $10.6 million in sales to bring its total up to an estimated $63.4 million. Down only 36% from last weekend, the Tina Fey and Steve Carell comedy should end its run near the $80 million mark.

Living up to its name, Warner’s The Losers opened in fourth place with $9.6 million in estimated sales, although final numbers may see this film change places with Lionsgate’s Kick-Ass. The ads offered up plenty of explosions and lame one-liners, but not much else that would entice people into theaters. As with the Lopez debacle, watch for The Losers to make a quick exit from cinemas next weekend en route to the safe havens of Netflix and Redbox.

After narrowly squeaking out a number one win last weekend, Lionsgate’s comic book comedy Kick-Ass got its ass kicked down to the number five spot. Off 53 percent from last weekend, the Matthew Vaughn film pulled in $9.5 million to bring its ten-day estimated total up to the $35 million mark. Despite scoring a solid 76% from Rotten Tomatoes, the film’s sharp drop indicates that the positive reviews, Internet buzz and fanboy word-of-mouth never reached the mainstream audiences it needed to become a breakout hit.

Sixth spot, and in its sixth weekend, went to Warner’s near-Bubo free remake of Clash of the Titans. Zeus and company pulled in another $8.3 million this weekend to bring its overall total near the $146 million mark. While the studio-implemented, last-minute application of 3D to the film added little to its overall entertainment value, Warner execs have to be high-fiving each other over their decision to do so as the higher-priced 3D tickets have kept the film afloat at the box office since its debut a month and a half ago.

In seventh was another film that debuted to decent numbers last weekend only to see its audience fall by half: the Screen Gems’ comedy Death at a Funeral. Falling by 51 percent to approximately $8 million, the remake of the 2007 original’s ten-day gross now stands near the $29 million mark. In eighth place was the latest nature documentary from Buena Vista, Oceans, with a $5.5 million weekend gross and a five-day haul of $8 million since its opening on Earth Day last Thursday. The $4,975 per-screen average from 1,205 screens was the highest in the top ten.

Rounding out the top ten were two more Disney releases, the Miley Cyrus drama The Last Song and the Tim Burton blockbuster Alice in Wonderland. Song added another $3.7 million to its coffers to bring its to-date total to $55.4 million while Alice added $2.2 to its domestic total, which now stands at $327.5 million.

The final weekend of the Spring box office season will bring the arrival of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake and the family film (which unintentionally looks scarier than “Nightmare” does) Furry Vengeance starring Brendan Frasier and Brooke Shields. Watch for Freddy Krueger to hold court next week until the return of Tony Stark on May 7.

– Shawn Fitzgerald

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