Warner Bros. pic edges 'Gnomeo' with $13.5 million

After an uncharacteristically low Sunday, Disney’s “Gnomeo and Juliet” gave up its top spot at the domestic B.O. to New Line’s debut laffer “Hall Pass,” according to studio weekend actuals released Monday.

“Hall Pass,” with a revised $13.5 million vs. distrib Warners Bros.’ estimated $13.4 million, eked out a narrow victory, beating “Gnomeo,” which dropped from Disney’s estimated $14.2 million to gross an actual $13.4 million — a decline of 6%. Toon’s weekend discrepancy was because of a less-than-expected Sunday gross, which “defies historical trends,” said a Disney distrib exec.

“Gnomeo” was expected to far outstrip the competition on Sunday as family films typically hold best against the Oscarcast, with adult-skewing pics (like “Hall Pass”) succumbing more to the kudos show. “Hall Pass” was expected to have a stronger showing with moviegoers aged 18-24, but wound up skewing more toward the over-35 crowd.

And while “Gnomeo” did perform best on Sunday, with $3.9 million vs. $3.2 million for next-best “Hall Pass,” “Gnomeo’s” Sunday take was considerably less than what most studios had projected.

After its third week of theatrical release, “Gnomeo” has cumed a resilient $74.3 million.

So far, “Gnomeo’s” healthy gross has been a nice surprise for Disney, especially given the depressed U.S. market of late, down more than 20% compared to last year. But the film’s weaker Sunday take may be indicative of the depressed box office; last weekend was off approximately 9% vs. the same frame in 2010.

Both “Hall Pass” and “Gnomeo” should score nicely throughout the week, with both adults and families contributing to mid-week figures.

Overall, the weekend underwhelmed with both new entries, “Hall Pass” and Summit’s “Drive Angry,” bowing below studio expectations. Revised weekend figures for “Drive Angry” clocked in at $5.2 million, up slightly from its projected $5.1 million.

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