Box Office Milestones for the Week of March 29
For the fourth consecutive week, 3-D ruled the box office. "How to Train Your Dragon" debuted to a decent $43.7M. That’s $16M less than Dreamworks’ 3-D toon from last March, Monsters vs. Aliens; although, to be fair, Monsters didn’t have a $300M box office behemoth to contend with when it opened. Still, Dragon broke no records and came in at the lower end of Dreamworks Animation’s track record. This weekend marked a $2-3 price increase at theaters, meaning even less people saw Dragon. Yes, a 3-D Imax ticket at Century City, CA will now set you back $20.50. The good news for Dragon is that there are no family or animated films debuting next month. Will less competition plus stellar reviews equal strong legs?
Hot Tub Time Machine also underwhelmed with $14M. Did the movie’s title help or hurt its box office? The last movie to ride a wave of buzz off its campy, superobvious title, Snakes on a Plane, also disappointed upon release. It debuted to a nearly identical $13.8M and topped out at $34M. Hot Tub could end with a similar amount.
The Bounty Hunter is also following a beaten path. The film is holding up well, with $38M in two weeks. Its box office trajectory is paralleling another critically-panned, action/romantic comedy released in March: The Mexican. That film opened with $20.1M in 2001 with a $6814 per-theater average, then dropped to $12.2M in week two, and ended its run with $66.8M. The Bounty Hunter opened to $20.7M, a $6729 p.t.a., dropped to $12M this week, and should end in the same range, too. For Gerard Butler, Bounty is his third film to debut to over $20M in less than a year. What’s even more impressive is that all three are original screenplays, thus lacking any built-in audience. The last actor to accomplish this feat was the star of The Mexican, Brad Pitt.
Chloe was the second film in a row to underwhelm in an awkward release pattern after The Runaways. The only films that benefit from such a limited release are usually ethnic or religious movies, like Under the Same Moon or The Omega Code. These movies had a grassroots element to their marketing, which Chloe and The Runaways lacked.
Elsewhere, Avatar finally dropped out of the Top Ten after 15 weeks. In its 15th week, Titanic was still #1. She’s Out of My League has been holding well, dropping a sturdy 40% against Hot Tub. It should eke out a respectable gross. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, after falling 55% from its strong debut, should match fellow Fox kidpic Tooth Fairy with a $58M tally.