Dragons Rule The (Box Office) Kingdom

Wow.  I’ve got to say that it was a pretty tepid weekend at the movies. We had a couple of new releases that I thought would just rake it in this weekend, but instead, they barely registered a blip on the radar screen.

How to Train Your Dragon actually won the throne this weekend, but I have to think the $43.3 Million opening was a disappointment for Dreamworks. This movie has family appeal and enjoyed stellar critical reviews, but had an underwhelming opening.  I have seen the budget reported at between $165 Million and $180 Million, either of which will ensure an uphill battle for the movie to recoup its costs.

Remember last week when I hinted that How to Train might have difficulty getting booked on 3D screens because Alice in Wonderland is still going strong? Well, it may be entirely coincidence, but when the husband and I tried to find a theater nearby to take our kids to see How to Train Your Dragon, we couldn’t find one.

It was no big deal to drive to one a bit out of our neighborhood, but I wonder if this happened nationwide?  I have lived in my city 15 years, and I have never had to drive out of my little five mile radius to find a movie, especially such a big release.

We drove to the closest theater showing the film, and it sold out, but it only had 74 seats. Despite arriving 30 minutes early, we had to split up the family for seating. Just curious if anyone else noticed that it was difficult to find a screening of this?  The screen count seems to be upwards of 4,000, though. However, I couldn’t find an exact count as to how many of those were 3D screens.

Alice in Wonderland snagged second place, with $17.3 Million, despite losing over 350 screens.

I have to say that I was quite surprised by the lukewarm performance of Hot Tub Time Machine. I thought thqt all the eighties kids would be dashing to the theater, but I was sorely mistaken. Fellow children of the eighties: why haste thou forsaken Hot Tub Time Machine?  Hot Tub only made $13.6 Million, but with a modest budget of around $36 Million, it should do okay in the long run.

The Bounty Hunter dropped an expected 40%, but still made $12.4 Million. Diary of a Wimpy Kid rounded out the top five, and has become profitable in its second week. With a budget of only $15 Million,  the second week in release brought its total to $35.7 Million.

Outside of the top five, some films are floundering. The Matt Damon Iraq war drama Green Zone has only managed $30.4 Million in three weeks, but it had a budget of $100 Million. Repo Men also disappointed.  After two weeks in release, its total now stands at a paltry $11.3 Million. Atom Egoyan’s art house drama Chloe barely made $1 Million.

Next weekend, we have yet another 3D release competing for screen space when Clash of the Titans opens.  Is it just me, or are we going to start seeing these 3D movies cannibalize one another?  I saw an awful lot of previews for upcoming 3D releases, but  there are only so many screens to be had. Will this rush to convert everything to 3D backfire on the studios?

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