Fox's 3-D sequel grosses $13.8 million

Twentieth Century Fox’s 3-D toon “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” froze out Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” at the Wednesday box office, grossing an estimated $13.8 million as it opened in 3,993 runs.

Opening day number marked a stellar start for the third installment in the blockbuster “Ice Age” franchise. It’s the best opening day gross for a toon bowing on a Wednesday. Previous record-holder for top Wednesday was “Shrek 2″ at $11.8 million on May 19, 2004.

Still, “Transformers 2″ was no slouch. The monster performer grossed an estimated $10.9 million on Wednesday for a boffo domestic cume of $240.9 million in its eighth day in release.

Universal’s Johnny Depp topliner “Public Enemies,” directed by Michael Mann, also got off to a promising start. The period gangster pic grossed an estimated $8.2 million as it opened Wednesday in 3,391 runs. That placed ahead of the $6.7 million grossed by “Road to Perdition,” and slightly behind the $8.7 million grossed by “The Departed” (U is using those two titles as comps). But those films had the advantage of opening on a Friday.

“Ice Age 3″ and “Public Enemies” opened mid-week in order to get a jump on the holiday weekend, when traffic could be slowed because of July 4th falling on a Saturday. The holiday itself is never a big moviegoing day unless the weather is bad.

Box office observers say “Transformers 2″ could beat “Ice Age 3″ for the weekend.

“Ice Age 3’s” opening day gross paced ahead of the $13.5 earned by “Ice Age 2″ on its first day, but behind the $16.5 million grossed in 2007 by Disney-Pixar’s “Ratatouille.” Again, those two titles had an edge in bowing on a Friday.

“Ice Age 3″ is opening day and date around the world on roughly 12,000 screens in 93 territories. The previous two films did boffo biz overseas.

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