‘Dragon’ Tops Weak Session

17347how_to_train_your_md[1] This time Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon really will take the box office crown as Hollywood suffered one of its worst weekends of the year so far with the box office down nearly 20% from last year when Obsessed opened with $28.6 million. Dreamworks’ 3D toon feature, which lost out on a Monday morning recount to Kick-Ass last weekend, left no doubt this time around by earning an estimated $15 million, which easily topped the $12.3 million generated by the Jennifer Lopez vehicle,The Back-Up Plan.

How to Train Your Dragon dropped just 24% in its fifth weekend at the box office. It should surpass $200 million this week and end up with more than $225 million, making it a major success for Dreamworks, Paramount and the 3D process.

Jennifer Lopez’s first big film in five years debuted with less than stellar numbers. Though comedies often take awhile to establish themselves there are danger signs here. The Back-Up plan appealed to fairly narrow moviegoing demographic. Females made up 71% of the audience, which was 57% over 30 and 21% Latino.

One comedy that has established itself is the Steve Carrell/Tina Fey vehicle, Date Night, which declined only 37% and finished third with an estimated $10.6 million.

The other new film that debuted in wide release, Warner Bros.’The Losers, which is based on the Vertigo comic book series written by Andy Diggle, unfortunately lived up to its name, at least as far as opening weekend box office performance was concerned. It appears that The Losers did edge out Kick-Ass this weekend, but only by the slimmest of margins, an estimated $9.6 million to an estimated $9.5 million for Kick-Ass, which fell a substantial 52% in its second frame.

The less-than-stellar box office performances of The Losers (and to a lesser extent that of Kick-Ass, which won its opening frame, but didn’t quite live up to expectations) demonstrates the difficulty in establishing a box office franchise based on a little known comic book property, especially when employing a cast devoid of any real stars. The Losers could still redeem itself on DVD, and Kick-Ass will likely be a hit on disc, but neither film is going to come close to the feat pulled off by Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300, which was based on an obscure comic and featured a little known cast, but turned out to be a bona fide smash hit.

Clash of the Titans, the film that Warners converted to 3D in a move that forced The Losers to a slightly less desirable April weekend opening, fell just 42%, earning an estimated $9 million and pushing its domestic total to over $145 million.

Disney took the last three spots in the top ten. The underwater documentary Oceans bowed on Earth Day and did very well for a film in its genre with an estimated $8.5 million. The Miley Cyrus weeper, The Last Song, finished 9th by earning $3.7 million, while Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, the most popular 3D film in history with the exception of Avatar, added $2.2 million to its gargantuan $324 million total.

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