It was a shocking and unusual weekend at the box office. Fanboys (and girls) are all scratching their heads trying to figure out how Kick-Ass got its butt kicked by a four week old dragon. That’s right, How to Train Your Dragon claimed the number one spot by a narrow margin of about $250,000, which means we may have a repeat of last week. If you recall, when I wrote the box office piece last week, Date Night was the winner, but by the time the final numbers came in on Monday, it turned out that Clash of the Titans had edged out Date Night by a cool million.
How to Train Your Dragon fell only 20% (remarkable for four weeks in release), and now has made $158 Million. Early numbers are showing about $20 Million for the weekend. Other films that actually seemed to gain momentum during their theatrical run were A Christmas Carol, and Avatar. Dragon was well received by critics and audiences alike, and is truly family friendly, but to win the box office your fourth week out is rather rare. Dreamworks has got to be thrilled.
Kick-Ass got some pretty solid critic reviews (78% on Rotten Tomatoes as of Sunday evening), but it seems like audiences just didn’t connect with the movie, and much as it pains me to say so, it appears movie and comic nerds are not a strong enough force to prop a movie up.
Fellow Flickcast writer Bob Starr and I were lamenting on Twitter that this is Watchmen all over again. Watchmen debuted in April last year, and although it made $55 Million during its opening weekend, it was considered a disappointment, particularly because it had a reported budget of between $100-$125 Million.
Kick-Ass was financed 100% outside of the studio system. Director Matthew Vaughn raised money from investors for the $28 Million budget, and Lionsgate picked up the film for distribution. Kick-Ass will undoubtedly earn back its budget, but I know a lot of us are clamoring for a sequel, and that is definitely not a slam dunk at this time. Right now the numbers are showing $19.7 Million for the weekend.
Date Night managed to make $17.3 Million, and it only dropped 31%. That is a fairly strong second weekend for the Tina Fey/Steve Carell comedy. Death at a Funeral is a remake of a British film from 2007, differing from the original with a predominately african-american cast, featuring Chris Rock, and “it-girl” Zoe Saldana. The movie made $16.4 Million for fourth place.
Coming in at the number five spot was former champ Clash of the Titans, with $15.7 Million.