Weekend Box Office – HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON Leads Two Loser Debuts

     April 25, 2010

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You know it’s a slow weekend when both wide-release debuts fail to break $13 million. The under performance of The Back-Up Plan and The Losers left room enough for How to Train Your Dragon to take number one with $15 million – the lowest grossing weekend for a top-ranked movie so far this year. It’s doubtful that CBS Films will find a way to doctor those Back-Up Plan numbers by Monday so maybe, just maybe, the slow-to-start 3D Dragon will get to stay on top?

Title Weekend Total
1 How to Train Your Dragon $15,000,000 $178
2 The Back-Up Plan $12,250,000 $12.2
3 Date Night $10,600,000 $63.4
4 The Losers $9,600,000 $9.6
5 Kick-Ass $9,500,000 $34.8
6 Clash of the Titans $9,000,000 $145.6
7 Death at a Funeral $8,000,000 $28.4
8 Oceans $6,000,000 $8.4
9 The Last Song $3,700,000 $55.3
10 Alice in Wonderland $2,200,000 $327.4

The Back Up Plan movie poster.jpgOnce again I will begin by saying that How to Train Your Dragon is topping the weekend estimates at this point. I know I said that last weekend, but this time I really mean it! As I write, Dragon has $15 million to The Back-Up Plan‘s $12.3 million. Considering that The Plan had no Thursday night release numbers to beef up its gross, I’d say that J Lo and company have no hope of catching up. And yet, I’ve been burned before.

As I mentioned, the top earning Dragon has posted the year’s lowest number one weekend thus far. The film’s current domestic total of $178 million is running about even with 2009’s Monsters vs. Aliens after its fifth week. Taken together with last week’s “number one in all but name” photo finish with Kick-Ass, these trivia tidbits give Dreamworks Animation… a bunch of stuff that is totally useless for PR purposes. So sad.

April is not known for its exciting new releases (remember this week last year when Obsessed made $28 million? No. Neither do I.) still, this weekend set a low bar even by April’s standards. In fact, the big story this weekend has to be how well The Back-Up Plan did… all things considered. This movie looked like a loser from the minute its synopsis hit the internet: a woman who finds her soul-mate right after she impregnates herself with a stranger’s sperm? How did Meryl Streep pass on this one?

The shaky box office history of J Lo, her even shakier recording career and her film’s ever-changing release dates all spelled disaster. Kudos, in that case, for breaking $10 million! The Back-Up Plan opened in 3,280 locations and had a per-screen average of $3,735. The romantic comedy still has to overcome a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but at least it has dibs on that “Number One Comedy in America” line for its TV ads now.

The Losers movie image Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Jason Patric, oscar Jaenada, Idris Elba, Zoe Saldana and Columbus Short slice (1).jpg

If I was surprised that The Back-Up Plan wasn’t a bigger flop, I was really surprised that The Losers was such an unequivocal bomb. Maybe it’s me, but I’ll take a comic adaptation over funny infertility hi-jinxs any day. Then again, I didn’t pay to see either movie, so maybe I should keep my prejudices to myself. The Losers opened in 2,936 locations and posted a per-screen average of $3,271. That’s not much worse than the average for The Plan, and yet The Losers could only crawl into fourth place. I blame Joel Silver… and the script.

There was one more new release this weekend, Disney Nature’s Oceans (remember this week last year when their documentary Earth made $8.8 million? No. Neither do I). Oceans launched at 1,206 locations and was able to take number one on Thursday with $2.4 million thanks to lingering Earth Day guilt. The bad news for Disney is that those Oceans numbers didn’t get any better as the weekend progressed and Earth‘s troubled little sister ended up at number eight with an estimate of $6 million and a per-screen average of $4,975. Wait a minute! That makes Oceans the most profitable new release of this weekend! And I was worried that April held no more surprises!

Next weekend the rebooted A Nightmare on Elm Street will sink its claws into theatres. I would try to feign a little more excitement here, but I’m really just marking time until Iron Man 2 comes out on May 7th at this point.

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Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street movie.jpg

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