Clash of the 3D movies at the box office

'Titans' will battle against 'Dragon,' 'Alice'

Studios are bracing for the Easter frame’s much-hyped 3D battle as Warner Bros. unleashes 3D giant “Clash of the Titans” starting with early screenings tonight. Pic will go head-to-head with 3D holdovers led by Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s toon “How to Train Your Dragon.”

“Clash” bows at some 3,000 locations, and will expand Friday to approximately 3,800. Warner expects its 3D count to near 1,800 Stateside locations.

Disney launched Miley Cyrus-weeper “The Last Song” Wednesday at 2,673 engagements, hoping young femmes on spring break will help kickstart the holiday weekend. Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry comedy sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too?” rounds out the frame’s wide releases, launching Friday at 2,155 locations. The weekend typically underperforms, with moviegoers often staying home on Easter Sunday, but Warner hopes to tempt auds with 3D “Clash.”

And with “Clash” entering the 3D fray, which includes holdovers “Dragon” and Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland,” some circuits are screening 2D runs of “Clash” today, while others will screen the film in 2D at 8 and 10 p.m., then switch to 3D at midnight.

Par’s “Dragon” will occupy the majority of remaining 3D-equipped locations, retaining 2,178 with an additional 186 Imax 3D screens. Imax is committed to a six-week run of “Dragon.”

Last weekend, “Alice” screened at 1,450 3D locations, losing about 640 locations to “Dragon.” “Alice” dropped to the No. 2 spot in its fourth frame, with 17.7 million. The 3D pic’s cume stands at $297.6 million as of March 30.

The frame’s freshest 3D offerings, “Clash” and “Dragon,” will take up most of this weekend’s total estimated 4,100 Stateside 3D-equipped screens.

“Clash,” co-financed by Legendary Pictures stars Sam Worthington and Ralph Fiennes. Fans have been skeptical about Warner’s decision to convert the Greek myth to 3D rather than shooting in 3D.

Still, “Clash” should perform well with male auds, and could easily play well among broader demos. With the film’s 3D component and early bow, “Clash” should have no problem topping the holiday frame’s previous record holder, Weinstein Co.’s “Scary Movie 4,” which opened with $40.2 million at 3,602 locations in 2006.

“The Last Song” marks Cyrus’ second consecutive Easter opening, with last year’s top earner “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” totaling $32.3 million at 3,118 playdates. “Song” is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, who wrote the project with Cyrus in mind.

“Married Too” reunites the original cast members, including Janet Jackson, Jill Scott and Perry, who helmed and scripted both films. Core aud for “Married” is older African-American women. Original opened with $21.4 million off 2,011 sites.The frame’s wide openers will have to compete with Par’s “Dragon” as it hopes to build momentum after a modest opening last weekend, taking in $43.7 million at 4,055 playdates.

With a strong hold on its 3D locations, coupled with positive reviews and strong word-of-mouth, “Dragon” could continue to build with family auds. “Dragon” held strong Monday, with $4.8 million, down just 66% from a healthy Sunday of $14.1 million.

In limited release, Focus Features’ Ben Stiller starrer “Greenberg” enters its third frame, after earning $1 million at 181 engagements.Specialty distrib Paladin is set to launch its family drama “The Greatest,” starring Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon and Carey Mulligan, on Friday in New York and L.A.

Meanwhile, Nu Image canceled the launch of its Edward Norton starrer “Leaves of Grass” just days before the film’s theatrical release. Originally distribed by the company’s First Look distribution arm, Nu Image reportedly re-sold distribution rights for the comedy. “Leaves” is now skedded for a summer release.

Overseas, Warner will open “Clash” day-and-date in 15 territories on more than 4,000 screens, in territories including Spain, Australia and the U.K.

Last weekend’s top international title was “Alice,” grossing $46 million at 7,170 screens in 51 territories. Overseas cume reached $363 million, with 71% ($257.7 million) attributable to 3D revenue.

“Dragon” claimed the No. 2 spot, opening day-and-date with $31 million on 5,594 screens in 35 territories, repping 62% of the international market.

Toon opened in several key markets Wednesday, including France and the U.K.

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