Megamind Outwits Unstoppable at Box Office

Dreamworks’ Megamind remained the top draw for moviegoers this weekend despite the strong debut of 20th Century Fox’s Unstoppable. The other big holdover draws, Warner’s Due Date and Lionsgate’s For Colored Girls, both suffered sizable drops, while newcomers Morning Glory and Skyline both opened quietly. Overall, the top ten was down 20% from last weekend and 11% from last year at this time.

Dropping by only 35% from last weekend’s $46 million debut, Megamind added an estimated $30 million to its total which now stands at $89.7 million after ten days. In comparison, the spring entry How to Train Your Dragon (also from Paramount/Dreamworks) eased 33% in its second weekend to $29 million and had $92 million after a week and change. Should Megamind follow a similar pattern to Dragon, it could see its final domestic gross land in or around the $200 million mark. Then again, Dragon didn’t have to worry about facing off against the likes of a new Disney cartoon and a Harry Potter film for competition during its theatrical run.

The Will Ferrell and Tina Fey-voiced comedy did relinquish the number one spot to most of the middle of last week to Warner’s Due Date as kids were back in school. It also took the second place slot on Friday to Fox’s Unstoppable. But when the kids were out of school, as they were Thursday for Veteran’s Day and of course this weekend, the grosses surged and the film easily commanded the number one spot.

Denzel Washington teamed up with filmmaker Tony Scott for a fifth time with this weekend’s number two debut, the Fox thriller Unstoppable. Arriving in 3,207 stations, the runaway train film opened with a solid $23.5 million in its first three days. Co-starring Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Rosario Dawson, Unstoppable received strong reviews from the nation’s critics (87% approval on Rotten Tomatoes), which is increasingly rare for action films these days. As the film is playing well across the board, Unstoppable should have a nice, speedy ride ahead of it throughout the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

After landing a big payday last weekend to the tune of $32 million, the Warner Brothers comedy Due Date secured third place while dropping by 52% to $15.5 million and a new ten-day total of $59.5 million. Given its big opening, a decline of half this is not out of the ordinary. The Hangover easing only 32% after a $45 million weekend debut? Now that was out of the ordinary. The Robert Downey Jr. road trip comedy could find its way to $85-90 million by the end of its domestic box office journey.

In fourth place was the Universal science-fiction thriller Skyline which debuted to a weak $11.7 million from 2,880 screens. The film wasn’t screened for critics in advance, but 35 of the 39 listed on Rotten Tomatoes that did manage to see it made sure to tell viewers to stay away. But given its meager $4.7 Friday opener and a Saturday that saw its business drop 10% from that, ticket buyers didn’t really need any assistance in giving the latest effort from the Brothers Strause (Aliens vs Predator: Requiem) the cold shoulder.

Paramount’s Morning Glory attempted to get a jump on the weekend business by opening on Wednesday in the hopes of building on word-of-mouth. But considering the weak $2.6 million in mid-week sales and the limp $9.6 million weekend haul, the plan turned out to be a lesson in futility. After five days of release, the $40 million J.J. Abrams production has grossed an underwhelming $12.2 million on 2,518 screens. Starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, reviews were as decidedly mixed (56% on Rotten Tomatoes) as the viewer turnout was.

Tyler Perry movies all tend to follow a similar pattern: open big and fade fast. His latest film For Colored Girls proved to be no different, but its sophomore drop was bigger than usual. Falling a steep 65%, Perry’s R-rated drama landed in sixth place with $6.75 million for a ten-day estimated total of $31million. Watch for Tyler’s latest film to finish between $40-45 million (which still makes it a profitable production for Perry and distributor Lionsgate).

Easing 40% to land in seventh place with a $5.1 million was Summit’s hit action comedy Red. Its total now stands near the $80 million mark. With its action and adult demographics taking a moderate hit from the debuts of Unstoppable and Morning Glory, the Helen Mirren hit might not hit the $100 million mark as previously thought. But with a final gross close to the nine figure mark, I’m sure there aren’t many at Summit losing sleep over that.

The remaining three films in the top ten were sequels. Spot number eight went to Paramount’s Paramount Activity 2 which fell to $3 million (off 57%) in week four to bring its total to the $82 million mark. Dropping another 65% to land in ninth place was Saw 3D with $2.75 million in sales for $43.4 million after three weeks. Closing out the top ten was Paramount’s fall hit Jackass 3D as Johnny and the boys fell 53% to add another $2.3 million to its coffers, which now stand at $115 million. My money is on the title Jackass 4Ever for the next milking of the MTV cash cow.

In continued limited release, Summit’s Fair Game expanded to 175 screens to add an okay $1.08 million to bring its total to the $2 million range. Fox Searchlight’s 127 Hours continued its winning ways while adding 18 screens to its platform release (22 in total) to gross $453,000 for the weekend. After ten days in limited release, the total for Danny Boyle’s latest Oscar contender stands at $826,000.

Next Friday, Warner unleashes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (perhaps you’ve heard of it?) while Lionsgate debuts the latest from Crash director Paul Haggis, the Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks drama The Next Three Days. We’ll have these films eligible to predict their weekend box office business in our weekly Box Office Prophet game on Wednesday.

– Shawn Fitzgerald

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