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‘Clash of the Titans’ tops box office

3D Greek tale sets record for Easter debuts

Warner Bros.’ 3D epic “Clash of the Titans” muscled its way to the top of the domestic B.O. this Easter weekend, with an estimated $61.4 million at 3,777 locations to become the highest-grossing pic ever released during the holiday frame.

With an added boost from 3D tickets, “Clash” had no problem overpowering the frame’s other wide releases.

Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry comedy sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too?” debuted with an estimated $30.2 million at 2,155 playdates, while Disney’s Miley Cyrus-weeper “The Last Song” earned $16.2 million at 2,673. Hoping to take advantage of spring break and Easter, “Song” opened Wednesday, with a five-day domestic take of $25.3 million.

“Clash,” co-produced by Legendary Pictures, launched day-and-date in 15 overseas territories at 4,240 screens for a weekend gross of $44.2 million. Worldwide total for “Clash” stands at $108.3 million.

Domestically, the mythic tale helped boost the frame 17% over the same weekend last year and 36% over last year’s Easter weekend, which came a week later compared to this year.

Warner released the film Thursday night, earning $2.7 million at approximately 3,000 locations. Some exhibs chose to screen the film in 2D during 8 and 10 p.m. timeslots, before switching to 3D midnight screenings. Early bow pushed domestic totals to $64.1 million.

Pic’s three-day estimates surpassed previous Easter champ, Weinstein Co.’s “Scary Movie 4,” which grossed $40.2 million in 2006. “Clash” also became Warner’s highest-grossing April opener, beating “The Matrix,” which earned $27.8 million in 1999.

Typically, studios expect softer returns during the holiday as auds gather with family on Easter Sunday.

Warner distrib chief Dan Fellman said the 3D aspect appealed heavily to “Clash’s” targeted aud, attracting 64% males with 42% under 25. Fellman described the film as a “fun popcorn movie.”

“We’re playing extremely well to our core audience,” he said of the 13 to 39 age range. “It was a big win for us all weekend.”

The film’s 3D quality has been a topic of debate since Warner announced in early February it would convert “Clash” to 3D. Fans were skeptical as to whether or not the two-month window would be enough time.

Added to a barrage of high-profile 3D titles, including Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” and Paramount’s toon “How to Train Your Dragon,” studios were forced to face limited 3D runs. “Clash” screened at 1,602 3D locations, repping 42% of the film’s overall location count.

While Fellman said 3D “was the venue of choice” for “Clash,” grosses from 3D venues repped 52% of the total take.

Entering its soph sesh, “Dragon” retained all 3D-equipped locations, totaling 1,893. The 3D toon dropped only 33% with an estimated weekend gross of $29.2 million at a total 4,060 engagements. Imax reported its share of the weekend take at $3.6 million at an additional 186 3D runs.

“Alice” bore most of the 3D squash, with more than 500 3D engagements repping approximately 21% of the film’s total locations in its fifth frame. The 3D fantasy still earned an estimated $8.3 million at 2,980 locations, dropping 53%.

Pic’s domestic cume reached $309.8 million, making it the Mouse House’s fourth highest-grossing title ever.

Lionsgate saw a healthy launch for “Married Too,” becoming the second highest opener for Perry after last year’s “Madea Goes to Jail,” which scored $41 million. The original “Married” opened with $21.4 million in 2007.

Lionsgate distrib topper David Spitz said the sequel’s launch was consistent with Perry’s previous films.

“For whatever reason, people continue to underestimate (Perry),” Spitz said. “This is the biggest non-‘Madea’ film out of his previous nine films.”

“Married Too” played best among older African-American women.

Appealing to younger femmes, Disney’s “The Last Song” hit high notes among its built-in Cyrus fan base, but failed to gain much traction outside the teen realm.

“Song” is based on Nicholas Sparks’ tome of the same name, which he wrote with Cyrus in mind. Jeff Van Wie co-wrote the script, about a girl who develops a summer romance while visiting her estranged father.

Disney prexy of distribution Chuck Viane said the combination of Sparks and Cyrus helped boost popularity among its targeted aud, saying, “We felt our audience would be available due to the spring vacations and that turned out to be the case.”

“Song” opened to $5.1 million on Wednesday, playing heavily among ages 9 to 18.

Among the frame’s 2D holdovers, MGM’s laffer “Hot Tub Time Machine” dropped 43% in its soph sesh for an estimated weekend gross of $8 million at 2,771 locations. Cume for “Hot Tub” reached $27.8 million.

Sony’s romcom “The Bounty Hunter,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, fell 48% in its third frame, earning $6.2 million at 3,118 for a cume of $49 million.

Doing solid business at the specialty B.O., Magnolia and Shorts International’s release of the 2010 Oscar-nommed shorts passed the $1 million mark on Friday.

Entering its seventh week, the program includes the Oscar-winning live-action and animated shorts, “New Tenants” and “Logorama,” respectively.

Meanwhile, Focus Features continues to benefit from its atypical roll out of “Greenberg,” starring Ben Stiller and directed by Noah Baumbach. Pic slipped only 27% in its third frame, earning $741,939 at 186 locations.

Focus expanded the film to 60 key U.S. markets early on in its release, hoping to benefit from strong word-of-mouth.

Overseas, “Clash” managed to outperform 3D holdovers “Dragon” and “Alice,” claiming high-end results in all 15 territories where it launched, including Spain and the U.K. The film’s 3D success added muscle overseas, with $24.3 million on 1,270 3D-equipped screens, accounting for 55% of the total B.O. on 30% of the screens.

Spain ranked as the film’s highest-grossing overseas market, earning an estimated $8.6 million on 549 screens, followed by the U.K., with $7.8 million on 752.

Par expanded “Dragon” to 19 additional markets, including France and the U.K, taking in a total estimated weekend gross of $38.5 million on 7,658 screens in 54 territories, of which approximately 69% came from 3D screens. Toon’s cume soared to $97.5 million.

“Alice” also continued to perform well among 3D enthusiasts, estimating $34.2 million on 8,443 screens in 51 markets. Disney’s 3D fantasy declined 33%, with an international cume of $422.3 million.

Universal debuted early in the U.K. its super hero comedy “Kick-Ass,” where it grossed $5.7 million on 402 screens. The film has generated strong word-of-mouth, as U plans to expand in 25 territories in the coming weeks.

Lionsgate will distribute the film Stateside, which is set to bow on April 16.

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