Weekend Box Office: Battle of the Family Flicks

Pixar has now made 13 feature-length animated films, and each has opened in the #1 spot at the box office. Actual attendance is down for the studio’s latest, but you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t take 3D ticket surcharges into account. The movie still managed to uphold Pixar’s ongoing box office record.

Although ‘Madagascar 3’ is already in its third weekend at the box office, it performed just one-third under the debut of Pixar’s first fairy tale. ‘Brave‘ exceeded one expectation, but failed in another. It earned $66.7 million despite predictions of only $64.7 million, but only 34% of its gross came from 3D showings. 3D percentages haven’t been that low in some time.

While ‘Brave’ is leaps and bounds above its nearest competitor, ‘Madagascar 3‘ still managed to bring in another $20.2 million. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of ‘Brave’, it deserves to suck all attendance away from ‘Madagascar’. Yet ‘Madagascar 3’ keeps going strong. After 17 days, the DreamWorks three-quel has now grossed $157.5 million domestically – not to mention the $208.4 million it has earned overseas.

Tim Burton’s appeal sure has been put to the test this summer. ‘Dark Shadows’ didn’t fare too well in the summer sun, and the Burton-produced ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘ opened slightly under its low expectations. The R-rated 3D genre flick only managed to pull in $16.5 million. For a $69 million genre movie that’s expected to decrease substantially in subsequent weekends, Fox should be sweating silver bullets right now. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln just isn’t a property that belongs in theaters. (Too soon?) Spielberg’s upcoming drama will be the judge of that.

Rounding out the Top 5 were ‘Prometheus‘ and ‘Rock of Ages‘ respectively. The $130 million-budgeted ‘Prometheus’ nabbed another $10 million and crossed the domestic $100 million mark ($108.5 million, to be specific). ‘Rock of Ages’ earned another $8 million, but the $28.7 million total of this $75 million movie isn’t at all good.

The biggest disappointment for the weekend was the debut of ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World‘. The Steve Carell/Keira Knightley end-of-the-world romantic dramedy brought in less than half of what it was expected to. Analysts predicted an $8.2 million opening, but it only drew $3.8 million. Fortunately, its production budget was only $10 million.

Despite mixed reviews, the five-screen domestic debut of Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love‘ was noteworthy. Currently rating 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, its $379,000 opening gave ‘Rome’ a $75,800 per-screen average.

Top 10:

1. ‘Brave’ (Buena Vista) – $66,739,000

2. ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ (Paramount/DreamWorks) – $20,200,000

3. ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire-Hunter’ (Fox) – $16,500,000

4. ‘Prometheus’ (Fox) – $10,000,000

5. ‘Rock of Ages’ (Warner Bros./New Line) – $8,000,000

6. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ (Universal) – 8,000,000

7. ‘That’s My Boy’ (Sony) – $7,900,000

8. ‘The Avengers’ (Buena Vista) – $7,040,000

9. ‘Men in Black 3’ (Sony) – $5,600,000

10. ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ (Focus) – $3,836,000


  1. EM

    On Sunday, not feeling sanguine about this summer’s releases, I decided to go back 30 years and watch four summer-1982 classics: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Thing, and Tron. Afterwards, I found myself with some time left over, and so as a bonus I watched summer 1983’s WarGames (which seemed to mix major elements of the 1982 films: Wrath of Khan’s superbomb, E.T.’s kids with secret lives, The Thing’s threat to human life worldwide, and Tron’s computers and video games). It was a pretty good movie weekend after all.

      • EM

        I’m a big believer in applying original context to film and other arts, and so sticking to a single era for a marathon can be helpful in that regard. 🙂 Here that was actually pretty easy, for I remembered all these movies from my childhood (although among them there are two that I didn’t see until later decades, I was very well aware of them back in ’82).

        It’s not unusual to do a double feature or marathon based on certain common criteria such as franchise or director or star or genre (the last of which also tied these particular movies together), but I also like to program using other common threads that are perhaps not so common. One of these days I must get around to implementing my idea of a certain 1960 triple feature: Peeping Tom, Psycho, and City of the Dead (a.k.a. Horror Hotel); not only did these three horror films come out in the same year, but each subsequent film thematically or narratively resembled its immediate predecessor (even though the first and the last don’t particularly resemble each other). Another of my ideas calls for a double feature of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Thing (1982): sci-fi horror films of a common era which are both remakes (of films that, like the remakes, are themselves four years apart) and tell the story of humans being replaced by invading alien doppelgängers.

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