3D toon bests new actioner with $30.1 mil

Families ruled the B.O. again this weekend as Paramount’s release of DreamWorks Animation 3D toon “Megamind” dropped just 35% to an estimated $30.1 million, topping the domestic B.O. chart.

Toon’s soph sesh perf, which boosted overall U.S. totals to $89.8 million, easily outstretched the frame’s top opener, “Unstoppable.” That 20th Century Fox pic launched at 3,207 locations for an estimated $23.5 million — an OK start for the Denzel Washington-Chris Pine starrer, which played well to mixed demos.

Skewing more toward younger male auds, “Skyline,” from Rogue Pictures and Relativity Media, opened with an estimated $11.7 million at 2,880 engagements — in line with studio expectations

and already recouping a base cost of $10 million.

Universal handled U.S. distrib duties for “Skyline”; Alliance is releasing it in Canada.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s third wide release, Par’s journo-themed “Morning Glory,” toplining Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, debuted in fourth place, with three-day estimates of $9.6 million from 2,518 locations. Pic got off to a soft start on Wednesday but managed to reach Par’s pre-weekend projection, posting $12.2 million in five days.

Overall B.O. totals were down 10% vs. the same weekend last year.

But the specialty market continued to make waves, driven notably by Fox Searchlight’s Danny Boyle-helmed “127 Hours.” Coming off a debut that featured the year’s second-highest per-screen average, Searchlight added 18 runs on Friday, averaging a sturdy $20,596 per screen in its second frame.

IFC’s “Tiny Furniture,” from helmer Lena Dunham, screened to soldout shows at the IFC Center in New York, averaging $22,450 per screen.

Like “Megamind,” Warner Bros.’ holdover laffer “Due Date” also showed resilience in its second outing, down 52%, with an estimated $15.5 million. Domestic totals now stand at $59 million, added to $47 million internationally for an estimated worldwide haul of $106 million.

Elsewhere on the international front, “Unstoppable” opened day-and-date in 40 territories, posting north of $18 million from 3,191 screens.

Fox launched the pic in just half of the top 10 international markets, including China, where it topped the local charts with $4.4 million, and in France, where its $2.5 million ranked 110% ahead of Washington and helmer Tony Scott’s 2009 collaboration, “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.”

Domestically, however, “Unstoppable” could lag behind “Pelham’s” $23.4 million debut if revised weekend figures are below Fox’s estimates. “Pelham” previously was the highest opener for a Washington-Scott title, cuming $65.4 million in domestic B.O. receipts; “Unstoppable” is the duo’s fifth pairing.

Pic’s weekend take was marked by a solid mix of men and women, with a better-than-expected 35% under-25 age group. Moviegoers over 25 made up 65% of the aud for “Unstoppable,” competing most directly with similarly targeted holdovers like “Red.” That pic, which now has cumed a hardy $79.8 million, saw its steepest drop so far, at 41%.

Fox general sales manager Bert Livingston pointed to “Unstoppable’s” adult-skewing crowd as good news in repeat frames, saying, “On a picture like ‘Unstoppable,’ you don’t have to be No. 1 because adults don’t typically rush out opening weekend.”

“It’s often the case that more than one successful picture can do business,” Livingston added. “The greatest thing in our business is word of mouth, and this picture is positioned perfectly for us.”

“Unstoppable,” which also co-stars Rosario Dawson, received an A- CinemaScore rating, which should help boost appeal, along with a lift from better-than-average reviews. With an estimated $75 million budget, Fox will rely on positive appraisals to help recoup costs, though international grosses will alleviate pressure. Pic’s worldwide debut stands at nearly $42 million.

“Megamind” continued to play well with families and gain steam with 3D fans. The toon dropped just slightly in overall 3D shares, with 64% of the weekend tally coming from 3D, compared with last weekend’s 66% 3D take.

Anne Globe, DWA head of worldwide marketing, described young males as “the lead group showing interest” that should help propel 3D ducats sold through Thanksgiving. “We expect to be the 3D event of the holiday weekend,” Globe predicted.

That may be a tall order, as Disney’s 3D “Tangled” opens wide Nov. 24.

Still, Globe compared the first two weeks of playtime to DWA’s first-quarter title “How to Train Your Dragon,” which dropped a similar 34% in its soph sesh after a $43.7 million opening. “Megamind” debuted with $46 million worldwide, which could mean good news for the Will Ferrell-voiced toon, given that “Dragon” cumed $217.6 million.

Sci-fi entry “Skyline,” which saw a primarily young male aud, was helmed by vfx experts Colin and Greg Strause. Though the pic scored a dismal D- CinemaScore, it won’t necessarily spell doomsday for the low-budget film.

Meanwhile, a largely female aud (72%), turned out for Par’s midweek entry “Morning Glory,” with 89% of the aud over 25. Pic was given a B appraisal, meaning it may have a hard time broadening beyond its core femme demo.

Par exec VP of distribution Don Harris said they launched the film Wednesday to capitalize on some adult moviegoers observing Veterans Day. “We always knew that this movie would play older and female, and would take longer to get where it needed to,” Harris noted. He credited the pic’s topliners for tubthumping it; Ford appeared for a long stint on “Late Show With David Letterman” last week.Lionsgate’s latest Tyler Perry pic, “For Colored Girls,” saw a typical drop for the helmer, down 65% from its opening weekend for a take of $6.8 million. Perry’s fall entry last year, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” fell 58% in its second outing after a $23.4 million debut. “For Colored Girls” opened with $24.2 million and has cumed an estimated $30.9 million.

Adding 130 locations in its second frame, Summit’s “Fair Game” totaled a strong $1.1 million from 175, bringing its domestic cume to slightly less than $2 million. Pic averaged a respectable $6,166 per screen given the amount of runs.

The Metropolitan Opera continued live transmissions in its fifth season, featuring Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale, which tallied $2.3 million and saw attendance at 102,000 in North America. Worldwide attendance is expected to top 280,000.

International B.O. totals registered a high note for some holdover titles, such as U’s “Despicable Me,” which added $9.5 million from 40 territories to the pic’s now $270.6 million overseas cume.

Toon earned the majority of its weekend gross from holdover territories like France and the U.K., contributing an estimated $2.2 million and $1.8 million, respectively. Local totals in Gaul reached $28.3 million, while Blighty auds have shelled out $29.1 million.

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