Sunday, March 29, 2009

It isn’t exactly foreign, or alien if you will, to see an animated feature come out on top of the chart with massive numbers. This specific debut though certainly packed a particularly monstrous wallop. Dreanworks’ MONSTERS VS. ALIENS is Dreamworks’ second biggest opening for an animated film after last summer’s KUNG-FU PANDA. It is the third best March opening after Zach Snyder’s 300 and the second installment in the ICE AGE series. More importantly though, MONSTERS VS. ALIENS establishes the viability and profitability of the budding 3D market. Representing just 28% of the entire theatre count, 3D screens amassed 58% of the final weekend gross and will inevitably get all of Hollywood talking about the future of the cinema.

The box office saw two other Top 10 debuts this week. The first is yet another horror film, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT. Despite its certainly impressive debut, it will likely sink down the same route as the countless other horror films that open strong and die off faster than the first disposable victim in, well, all these equally disposable horror flicks. The week’s other debut goes to 12 ROUNDS, the latest Renny Harlin action film. The film was not heavily promoted and stars B-list action star, John Cena. This would most likely explain for the paltry $5 million it took in for a seventh place finish.

Continuing its squeaky clean expansion, SUNSHINE CLEANING just missed out on the Top 10, finishing in 11th place. The film officially goes art-house wide next week when it reaches 500 screens but at 167 screens this weekend, its gross improved 100% over last week and the Amy Adams/Emily Blunt vehicle maintained a per screen average of over $8K. A handful of other very limited runs saw impressive averages this weekend. Debuting this week on three and four screens respectively, Independent Spirit nominated, GOODBYE SOLO brought in $13.5K per screen and French export, SHALL WE KISS? secured an average of nearly $8K. Just like last week though, the highest per screen average belongs to VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPORER. The film added one screen this week for a whopping total of two screens and nailed down an average of $15K for a 38% increase over last week.

slumAnd the Top 10 says goodbye this week to one its longest mainstays. After a total of 12 non-consecutive weeks in the Top 10, Best Picture winner, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE suffered a great descent this week. With its impending DVD release coming on Tuesday, the little movie that not only could but did, saw a drop of nearly 60% and a loss of over 1200 theatres. Still, at a total domestic gross of nearly $140K and a total of eight Oscars, I’d say the Danny Boyle picture definitely fared better than it would have had it been released straight to video, as it was originally intended.

NEXT WEEK: Sundance hit and directorial follow-up to SUPERBAD, ADVENTURELAND lands ion1800 screens. More importantly though, its time to reboot and revisit FAST AND FURIOUS with the entire original cast and two less usages of the word, “the”, on over 3400 screens.

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