'Croods,' 'Fallen' Provide Unexpected B.O. Boost

But domestic weekend totals trail last year's 'Hunger Games' frame by 37%

Weekend box office was inevitably going to trail last year’s “Hunger Games” high. But new entries “The Croods” and “Olympus Has Fallen,” especially, prevented totals from falling too far behind 2012, though the weekend was still down a considerable 37%.

“The Croods,” the first DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Fox, led the rather robust frame with an estimated $44.7 million, while FilmDistrict’s action thriller “Olympus Has Fallen,” from Millennium Films, greatly overperformed with $30.5 million through Sunday.

Internationally, “The Croods” grossed a projected $63.7 million, with No. 1 debuts in all but three of its 47 opening territories. “Croods” earned $108.4 million globally this weekend.

“It’s a great start not only for the film, but for a new partnership as well,” said DWA marketing maven Anne Globe.

The other wide domestic players, Focus Features’ Tina Fey-Paul Rudd laffer “Admission” and A24’s aggressive expansion of “Spring Breakers,” each grossed in the mid-single digits. “Admission” disappointed, estimating $6.4 million; “Spring Breakers,” meanwhile, fell in line with pre-weekend projections, grossing an estimated $5 million from 1,104 theaters, up from three last weekend.

Domestic B.O. has been sluggish so far in 2013, down roughly 12%. And while observers braced for another sizable downturn, the weekend’s general overperformance bodes well for the coming Spring Break/Easter period.

“It’s obviously very difficult to replace a $150 million-plus opening,” said FilmDistrict distribution chief Jim Orr, referring to last year’s “Hunger Games” debut blowout.

“The Croods” should dominate the coming play period as it targets families (they contributed 68% of its gross this weekend), but based on the opening success, the toon has general appeal also. “Croods” saw a massive 63% Friday-to-Saturday uptick. That’s better even than DWA’s last spring hit, “How to Train Your Dragon,” which rose 45% this time in 2010. “Dragon” ended with a domestic cume of $217.6 million.

“When you have a film as good as ‘The Croods,’ this is the perfect launch pad to play through the concentrated two-week (spring break) play period,” said Fox distribution topper Chris Aronson.

“The Croods” scored 38% of its opening from 3D, an above-the-norm share, especially for family films. By comparison, summer franchise toons “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and “Madagascar 3″ debuted with 34% and 35% from 3D, respectively. DWA’s Globe said “The Croods” in 3D benefited from comparisons to “Avatar” as a visual feast.

“It was a great compliment and certainly drove some of the 3D marketplace,” Globe added.

Meanwhile, “Olympus Has Fallen” displayed surprisingly strong playability with adults, comparable to Universal’s “Safe House” last year. “Fallen” marks FilmDistrict’s biggest opening to date; the film was expected to land somewhere in the low-$20 millions.

“Olympus” scored 53% of its opening from men, with over-25 auds contributing a hefty 73%. Orr said there was an even spread among the varying over-25 age brackets. “Those often are the most difficult people to get off the couch,” he added.

“Olympus” played better than expected with women over 25 — the core demographic for “Admission,” which also was hurt by “Spring Breakers'” appeal to young femmes.

In limited release, the Weinstein Co.’s Australian period tuner “The Sapphires” started out strong at four locations, averaging $10,927 per screen, for a total estimated $40,927 weekend gross.

IFC Films’ 2012 SXSW Grand Jury feature winner “Gimme the Loot” opened at one location in New York via Sundance Selects, estimating $23,400. The graffiti art comedy expands to Chicago and L.A. on Friday, with additional top markets set to bow throughout April.

Aside from “Croods,” Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” and Warner Bros.’ “Jack the Giant Slayer” each saw solid overseas perfs: “Oz” earned $21.7 million, bringing its international cume to $178.8 million. “Jack,” meanwhile, grossed $19.3 million this weekend, with $60.5 million overseas.

And Sony’s “Resident Evil: Retribution,” which earned $42 million Stateside after bowing Sept. 14, finally made its way into China, where the film grossed $5 million this weekend, for an eight-day total of $14.2 million locally — 20% better than its 2010 predecessor, “Afterlife.” In total, “Retribution” nears $195 million overseas.

DOMESTIC:

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-screen engagement; Cume*; Percent change

  1. The Croods (1): $44.7; 4,046; $11,048; $44.7; –
  2. Olympus Has Fallen (1): $30.5; 3,098; $9,845; $30.5; –
  3. Oz the Great and Powerful (3): $22.0; 3,805; $5,790; $177.6; -47%
  4. The Call (2): $8.7; 2,507; $3,420; $30.9; -49%
  5. Admission (1): $6.4; 2,160; $2,984; $6.4; –

OVERSEAS:

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percent change

  1. The Croods (1): $63.3; 47; 11,870; $63.3; $108.4; –
  2. Oz the Great … (3): $21.7; 55; n/a; $178.8; $356.4; -53%
  3. Jack the Giant Slayer (4): $19.3; 47; 7,300; $60.5; $119.6; +74%
  4. A Good Day to Die Hard (7): $10.5; 38; 5,514; $220.2; $286.5; -49%
  5. Resident Evil: Retribution (2): $5.0; 1; 5,100; $194.3; $236.6; +39%

*in millions of $

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