Megamind Conquers Weekend Box Office with $47.7 Million

Moviegoers resuscitated the box by turning out in droves to support three new wide release and two limited release films. Dreamworks and Paramount’s 3D animated superhero comedy Megamind landed at number one while Warner’s Due Date and Lionsgate’s For Colored Girls delivered in second and third place. Add to this a series of early autumn films still hanging strong and you’re looking at a record first weekend haul for the month of November. Overall, the box office surged a huge 70% over the Halloween weekend and a big 38% over the top ten a year ago this weekend.

Following months of publicity that included star Will Ferrell dressed up in character during the recent World Series, Megamind opened on 3,944 screens (of which 2,634 were in 3D and/or IMAX) to land $47.7 million in estimated sales. Featuring the voice talents of Ferrell, Tina Fey, David Cross, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt, the animated riff on the superhero genre received mostly positive reviews from film critics and ticket buyers.

Megamind’s opening didn’t quite hit the highs of recent 3D openers like Shrek Forever After ($70.8 million), Despicable Me ($56 million) or Toy Story 3 ($110 million), but it did exceed the March opening for How To Train Your Dragon which opened at $43.7 million en route to a big $217 million gross. Should Megamind click with viewers the way Dragon did, the box office road ahead should be a solid one.

Writer/Director Todd Phillips’ follow up to his phenomenally successful 2009 comedy The Hangover, the road trip comedy Due Date, delivered a terrific $33.5 million from 3,355 screens. The combination of Warner’s aggressive ad campaign over the past few months and the marquee value of stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianaks helped the R-rated comedy overcome largely negative reviews (39% Rotten Tomatoes approval rating) and unfavorable (but justified) comparisons to 1987’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles to bring in big numbers. The film also features small appearances by Danny McBride, Juliette Lewis and Jamie Foxx.

Lionsgate launched Tyler Perry’s latest film, the R-rated drama For Colored Girls, on a substantially smaller theater count than the other two wide releases for the weekend (2,127) but still managed strong results. Perry’s adaptation of the 1975 stage play ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf’ by Ntozake Shange was a departure for the successful filmmaker given its more serious-minded subject matter and the fact that this is his first R-rated feature. Despite being savaged by critics (33% Rotten Tomatoes rating), the female ensemble drama hit its targeted audience of African-American women and delivered a solid $20 million in estimated sales, a figure that matched the film’s production budget.

Two limited releases, both based on true events, also made a lot of noise in their debuts. Fox Searchlight’s 127 Hours earned $266,000 for an excellent per-screen average of $66,481. Directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle, the survival drama starring James Franco will roll out across the country in a pattern similar to Boyle’s Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire over the next few weeks. Summit Entertainment opened their award hopeful, the Doug Liman-directed drama Fair Game, in 46 theaters and landed a solid $700,000 in sales. The Naomi Watts/Sean Penn starrer will also expand across the country in the upcoming weeks.

Showing strong staying power yet again is the Summit action comedy Red which landed in fourth place. Easing a slight 17.5% for the best hold in the top ten, the Helen Mirren hit added $8.8 million to bring its four week total to the $72 million mark. Given its surprising staying power, the chances of the DC Comics adaptation hitting the $100 mark and a sequel are getting better and better as time goes on.

The same can’t be said about the number five and six films for the weekend, both horror sequels that suffered some serious post-Halloween blues. Lionsgate’s Saw 3D took a 66% swan dive from last weekend’s number one opening to earn $8.2 million for a ten-day total of $38.1 million. Watch for Jigsaw’s swan song to earn close to the $50 million mark. Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 2 also lost 55.8% of its Halloween audience to $7.2 million for a new total of approximately $73 million. The spooky sequel should finish its run with approximately $85 million.

Johnny Knoxville and pals played practical jokes on 40% less viewers this weekend as Paramount’s Jackass 3D occupied seventh place while earning $5 million in its fourth weekend to bring its total to the $110 million market. The MTV co-production is still on course to finish with $120 million in sales. In eighth place while dropping a moderate 37% was Warner’s latest Clint Eastwood-directed drama, Hereafter . The Matt Damon starrer added $4 million to its coffers, which now stand at a disappointing $28.7 million. The film should earn roughly $35-37 million which would be in line with the grosses for Eastwood’s previous film, 2009’s Invictus.

Tying with Hereafter was Disney’s word-of-mouth hit Secretariat which eased 20% for $4 million and a new total of $51 million after five weeks. Rounding out the top ten, also with a slight 20% drop, was Sony’s awards favorite The Social Network. The David Fincher drama added $3.6 million to its total, which now stands at $85 million after six weeks of release.

Next weekend, Fox debuts the Denzel Washington and Chris Pine action flick Unstoppable, Paramount debuts the Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford comedy Morning Glory on Wednesday while Universal puts the sci-fi thriller Skyline into the fray.

We will have all these films available for you to predict their opening weekend takes on our ongoing Box Office Prophet Game.

– Shawn Fitzgerald

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