SUNDAY CENTS: For real this time, ‘Dragon’ ‘Back-Up’ to #1

Posted by · 12:08 pm · April 25th, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

No photo finishes and no Monday recounts needed. “How to Train Your Dragon” has definitely topped the chart this weekend, four weeks after debuting there. The last time a film leapt back up to number one after a three week hiatus was “The Passion of the Christ,” which had the help of Easter weekend to do it. It is, quite simply, a feat that isn’t possible in today’s box office climate and Paramount should be congratulated for their efforts. The film dropped a tiny 24% to $15.0 million and is well on course to pass the $200 million mark that “Monsters vs. Aliens” couldn’t hit last year. It’s also the lowest gross for a number one film since September.

Jennifer Lopez proved she still has some of the goods by lifting “The Back-Up Plan” to second place and $12.3 million. That’s already more than “Extraordinary Measures” made total and gives CBS Films reason to keep their doors open for a few more months. I have no idea why this film did this well except that there hasn’t been an old fashioned romantic comedy since “Valentine’s Day.” I’m still also not sure why there are even hijinks or complications in this plot. The guy falls in love with her… but she’s pregnant! So?

“The Losers” became a self-fulfilling prophecy for Warner Bros., entering the chart at number four with $9.6 million. To give you some perspective, some terrible movie called “The Marine” starring a wrestler opened to $8.3 million a few years ago. That’s the calibre of performance we’re talking about. The studio might have had better luck naming the film what it actually is, “The Cocky Douchebags.”

“Oceans” took eighth place with $6.0 million and $8.5 million including Thursday. That’s a bit below the pace of “Earth” but still the third biggest debut ever for a documentary. In fact, it’s already in the top 20 documentaries of all time in total gross, which just goes to show that there’s no reason why any type of film can’t make money with the support and muscle of a big studio behind it.

“Date Night” stayed put in third spot, dropping a slight 37% while “Kick Ass” and “Death at a Funeral” both capitulated in their second weeks. “Clash of the Titans” had a decent hold and will soon pass $150 million, meaning all three big 3D titles of 2010 will have crossed that threshold, two with relative ease.

Not much else to report. I feel like I used all my good jokes in the Friday column. Oh, and “Avatar” dropped 5% and actually improved its per-theater average despite hitting DVD on Thursday.

This week I saw matinee showings of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “The Secret of Kells,” and felt like a pervy old man both times. “Diary” is a total waste and not nearly as clever as somehow I was led to believe. “Kells” is pleasant enough, but not quite a slam dunk. This also means that Best Animated Feature is the first category from last year’s Oscars that I have seen every nominee in. Surprise, surprise, I think they gave it to the worst of the bunch.

What did you guys see? Box office chart is experiencing complications at Exhibitor Relations but will be up soon.

→ 13 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

13 responses so far

  • 1 4-25-2010 at 1:03 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Wow, Kick-Ass really sunk in its second week. So much for word-of-mouth.

  • 2 4-25-2010 at 1:59 pm

    Ryan Hoffman said...

    “This also means that Best Animated Feature is the first category from last year’s Oscars that I have seen every nominee in. Surprise, surprise, I think they gave it to the worst of the bunch.”


    1. Up
    2. Princess and the Frog
    3. The Secret of Kells
    4. Coraline
    5. Fantastic Mr. Fox

    And really none of the other 4 are even in the same ballpark as Up.

  • 3 4-25-2010 at 2:36 pm

    Jim T said...

    I haven’t seen Fox and Kells but Frog and Coraline are better than Up in my book.

    I write the full titles in my book by the way :p

  • 4 4-25-2010 at 2:58 pm

    Julian Stark said...

    I’m not at all surprised that How to Train Your Dragon rose to the top. There wasn’t much competition really. The Back-Up Plan was destined to flop, and there was minimal marketing for The Losers, which was poorly marketed regardless.

    That being said, I’m glad Dragon has the No. 1 spot sealed up again.

  • 5 4-25-2010 at 3:21 pm

    Michael said...

    wow this column was especially informative today – I never knew about Passion of the Christ rising again to the top or the tidbit about documentary grosses. I love this feature at In Contention, it is simply one of the best things about this place, along with the Life Without Oscar column. Keep up the good work Mr. Hartigan!

    I didn’t see anything this weekend b/c nothing looked like it was worth seeing. I am looking forward to Nightmare on Elm Street next week though.

  • 6 4-25-2010 at 3:35 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, I’m pretty much with Chad on that animated race. I’d apply Ryan’s “different ballpark” comment to “Coraline.”

  • 7 4-25-2010 at 3:56 pm

    Will said...

    The Loosers what could have been a fun action movie fell rather short and almost came to a crashing halt halfway through the movie

  • 8 4-25-2010 at 5:50 pm

    Artorious said...

    I totally agree. After first watch, I like Fox better than Up and Coraline, but I am completely expecting, on further rewatches, Coraline to be my favorite animated film from last year. It was simply amazing.

  • 9 4-25-2010 at 6:17 pm

    Speaking English said...

    It was just the best Animated Feature lineup ever. Simple as that. Any single one of those films would have been just as worthy winning as the other (although I haven’t seen “Kells” yet).

  • 10 4-25-2010 at 7:55 pm

    j said...

    A Single Man now has 20 mil worldwide. Not amazing, but it only cost $7 mil so it’s made a decent profit.

    The T4 profitmakers of the year seem to be: Alice, Titans, Valentine’s, and Shutter.

    Bounty Hunter’s topped 100 mil.

  • 11 4-25-2010 at 11:51 pm

    Glenn said...

    J, judging a movie’s profitablity on gross gets iffy for fare like “A Single Man” because it was produced and then shopped around, which means the producers make their money back when, for instance, The Weinstein Co pay them the money to distribute.

    Or, at least, that’s my understanding of it.

  • 12 4-26-2010 at 5:38 am

    Ben M. said...

    Really Dragon was #1 last weekend also since they (wrongly IMO) included the 10pm Thursday shows for Kick-Ass in its weekend total. While I wasn’t anticipating a bit hit, I thought The Losers would open better than it did and perhaps have a shot at #1; everything else was as I expected it to be.

  • 13 4-26-2010 at 3:58 pm

    SJG said...

    I’m with Speaking English… even if we assume Up really was the worst of the category, it was still infinitely better than some animated features that have been the best of the category in the past, because the whole line-up was so spectacular this year.

    I think it’s the first year ever where not only did they not have to pad the category with some ridiculous movie just to round things out, but there were probably some arguably deserving contenders who just couldn’t make the cut.

    It almost makes me glad the category exists, now that we’re reaching a point where enough high quality animated films are being made that the nominees are actually going to be good. Although I’d still rather the Academy just recognize that animated films are essentially just a different approach to the same thing as regular films and do away with the category altogether.

    Also, I’m looking forward to the fact that The Illusionist is already getting enough buzz that we might see something OTHER than a big budget Pixar / Dreamworks CG animated family film walk away with the award next year.