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‘Croods’ Looks to Light B.O. Fire with $40 Million-Plus Bow

'Olympus,' 'Admission,' 'Spring Breakers' should boost domestic totals

DreamWorks Animation will light a fire with families this weekend, with its first Fox-distributed title “The Croods” tracking in the $40 million-plus range, an opening that would resemble the toon shop’s last spring box office hit, “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Families have been greatly underserved this year having only been targeted by “Oz the Great and Powerful” — and even then it wasn’t directly geared toward families with young kids.

Domestic B.O., which is tracking 12% behind last year, should see a healthy injection this weekend from not only “The Croods,” but also FilmDistrict’s action thriller “Olympus Has Fallen,” which is tracking in the high teens, with a low-$20 million domestic upside.

Also, Focus Features’ Tina Fey-Paul Rudd laffer “Admission” looks to earn $7 million-$8 million, while last weekend’s limited success story — A24’s “Spring Breakers” — tries its luck in wide release, where it is expected to land somewhere around $5 million through Sunday.

“The Croods” should have a big weekend internationally, launching in 48 day-and-date territories, including Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia and the U.K.

See Also: ‘Croods’ Go Mobile With Angry Birds Creator

“The Croods,” which launches today at 4,046 locations (including 3,070 3D), will get a big boost from kids on spring break, with 13% of students out of school on Friday and many more off all next week in the lead-up to Easter.

In 2010, “How to Train Your Dragon” opened to $43 million — which the media deemed a meager start — but went on to become one of the year’s highest-grossing films with $217 million domestically.

Fox has similar hopes that “Croods” will leg out based on enthusiastic exhib responses and solid pre-sales: The toon represents 31% of ticket sales Thursday, according to Fandango. That’s better than “Dragon” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” the latter of which earned $49 million opening weekend last November.

The opening weekend upside for “Croods” could potentially reach “Wreck-It Ralph”-heights, though it’ll depend on how much steam “Oz” has left. The Disney tentpole held better than expected last weekend, dropping just 48% in its second frame. “Oz” has cumed nearly $153 million Stateside and counting.

While “The Croods” looks to tap into an underserved family market, Focus insists “Admission” is the only film directly targeting older females. That means the film could see a solid three-times multiple, which would position it well financially, according to Focus.

“Olympus Has Fallen,” which stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett, was produced and financed by Millennium Films, with FilmDistrict acquiring domestic distribution rights and paying for P&A. The distrib mounted an aggressive outdoor marketing campaign, and bought TV spots four weeks in advance as well as targeting male-oriented sites like ESPN and CBS Sports.

R-rated rowdy gangster romp “Spring Breakers” looks to widen its reach nationwide, especially college-age kids in smaller domestic markets.

Last weekend, the indie sensation via A24 scored the best-ever per-screen average during the first quarter from three locations in New York and L.A.. Distrib increased plans to expand the film based on its much better-than-expected per-screen, widening the expansion from roughly 600 Stateside locations to 1,104.

BOWING:

Film (Distributor) — Engagements

  • The Croods (Fox) — 4,046
  • Olympus Has Fallen (FilmDistrict) — 3,098
  • Admission (Focus) — 2,160
  • Inappropriate Comedy (Freestyle) — 292
  • The Sapphires (Weinstein) — 4
  • Love and Honor (IFC) — 2
  • Gimme the Loot (IFC) — 1

EXPANDING:

  • Spring Breakers (A24) — 3-1,104

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