Weekend Box Office – BATTLE: LOS ANGELES Lands in First with $36 Miilion; RED RIDING HOOD in Third; MARS NEEDS MOM Needs Help

     March 13, 2011

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The weekend played out pretty much as expected after Friday’s estimates, except for one factor (and I know this is a shocker): final weekend tallies ended up on the low end of projections across the board.  We are still dealing with box office totals that are down over 10% from 2010 but, compared to the 45% we were down last weekend, that’s progress!

Title Weekend Total
1 Battle: LA $36,000,000 $36
2 Rango $23,050,000 $68.6
3 Red Riding Hood $14,100,000 $14.1
4 The Adjustment Bureau $11,450,000 $38.4
5 Mars Needs Moms $6,800,000 $6.8
6 Hall Pass $5,105,000 $34.9
7 Beastly $5,090,000 $16.9
8 Just Go With It $4,000,000 $93.9
9 The King’s Speech $3,625,000 $129
10 Gnomeo & Juliet $3,546,000 $89

battle-los-angeles-movie-poster-03In first place this weekend was Sony’s Battle: Los Angeles with an estimated $36 million from its 3,417 locations.  That represents the year’s second biggest weekend take after Rango’s $38 million one week ago.  The PG-13 alien invasion pic came in just a shade lower than District 9 did in August of 2009, though that film had powerful prawn legs that helped it walk off with over $110 million off a budget of just $30 million.

It is far from certain that Battle: LA will have the same staying power, especially as it was only able to increase its daily estimate by 2% from Friday to Saturday.  If the reported $70 million budget for this Jonathan Liebesman film is accurate (and that’s a big IF) it won’t have to go far to find itself in profit, however: especially if international audiences take to this special effects-heavy feature.

Last weekend’s number one film, Rango, fell to second place this weekend with an estimate of $23 million.  That’s represents a decent hold of 61% for the animated toon and a new domestic total of $68.6 million after ten days.  It’s hard to find a good analogue for Rango to put this performance in perspective; mostly because the majority of recent animated features have had a 3D ticket price advantage (as with last March’s How to Train Your Dragon).  March 2008’s 2D Horton Hears a Who comes close.  It had a domestic total of $86 million after ten days.  Considering Rango’s relative anonymity next to Horton’s Seussical-stature, however, Verbinski’s lizard remains a tough film to quantify.

red_riding_hood_movie_image_amanda_seyfried_02Not so with our number three film, Red Riding Hood. This female-targeted, action/fantasy film has a pretty strong recent correlative, mostly because of it PG-13 rating and – oh yeah!  Didn’t the woman who directed it also direct something called Twilight?  So, OK, comparing Catherine Hardewick’s latest film to the mythic Twilight probably isn’t fair. Red Riding Hood debuted in third place with $14.1 million from 3,030 locations.  That’s well above what the similarly targeted Beastly (which fell 48% in week two) brought in last weekend, though it is well under the $20 million that Warner Brothers was hoping for from the $40 million pic.

It’s hard to say what Disney was hoping for from this weekend’s Mars Needs Moms.  On the one hand, it’s a 3D animated Disney movie, and it is rare for one of those to debut with less than $30 million.  On the other hand studio executives shut down the ImageMovers Digital studio that made the film after screening it so they had to suspect that they had a problem on their hands.  How big a problem is only now becoming apparent.  Mars Needs Moms debuted in fifth place with an estimated $6.8 million from 3,117 locations.  That means that, with a price tag north of $150 million, the film is on track to be Disney’s biggest money-loser of all time.  Even Sony’s 2D Planet 51 managed to open to $12.2 million back in 2009.  Of course, Disney has other titles which will offset this catastrophe, but its going to smart for a couple of weeks.

Following the success of Battle: Los Angeles, aliens will again invade the multiplex next weekend… well, just one alien. Named Paul. And I’m not sure he’s interested in invading anything aside from the JJ Abrams panel at Comic-Con.  Next weekend also gives us Bradley Cooper in Limitless and Mathew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer. Raise your hands if you’ve seen any promotion for that last one.  Anyone?

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