Inside Pulse Box Office Report: Slow Weekend sees Dragon Recapture the Top Spot

Finally, a weekend where the estimates will assuredly not be flip-flopped by Monday afternoon. Two weeks ago estimates had Date Night over Clash of the Titans. That was a no. Then last week, How to Train Your Dragon was above Kick-Ass. After the totals came in though, Kick-Ass was actually number one. (Maybe now we actually have a weekend where I don’t have to go to the trouble posting an update to the totals. Fingers crossed.)

Five weeks into its run, Dragon has managed to take the top spot once again. Such a feat is a rarity. Opening on 4,055 screens, the film has yet to have a percentage drop between weeks greater than 34%. Even after losing 390 screens – some of them 3-D presentations, but mostly 2-D presentations – it continues to make serious bank. With an estimated domestic total of $178 million, it is tracking at $4 million better than last year’s Monsters Vs. Aliens after five weeks. That either shows that it has staying power at the box office or that the state of family films (live-action or otherwise) is at its poorest. Expect Dragon to stay in the top ten until May 21st when DreamWorks’ next animation film, Shrek Forever After, is released.

Coming in at #2 is CBS Films’ Made-for-TV special (they just decided to release it in theaters anyway) The Back-Up Plan. This is the second film for the upstart studio, after Extraordinary Measures. The numbers were better than that, since its $12.3 million is better than what Measures made domestically throughout its entire run. With Jennifer Lopez predominant in the ads, women no doubt went to see what’s new with “Jenny from the block.” Since Gigli became the biggest running joke – until “Nuke the fridge” came along – Jennifer has appeared in only five films. Six if you include this latest release. And of those six, the only one worth a damn is An Unfinished Life, a film that was unceremoniously dropped into theatres September 2005. Granted it was mostly the Robert Redford-Morgan Freeman show, but she was no slouch. If only I had a DeLorean time machine and could travel back to 1998 and take Out of Sight Jennifer Lopez and show her what she has accomplished in the last twelve years. Besides a short-lived music career and the occasional cameo on South Park, not much.

Taking the bronze this weekend is Date Night. After three weeks it has a $63 million total. Not a bad performer for springtime, but what would its total have been if it had a June release like Carell’s Get Smart from 2008? It would have the added enticement of being able to see Tina Fey and Steve Carell in a movie after the 2010 TV season wrapped. The film will struggle to recoup its ad budget, but considering it’s a Fox release, expect this one to become either a “new classic” on TNT or be included as part of FX’s “DVD on TV.” If The Back-Up Plan wasn’t the movie for you this weekend, hopefully you had another back-up plan, so to speak. And if it happened to be The Losers, I’m sorry. An action film of spare parts from the ’80s, did anyone really want to see a movie with Losers in the title? Isn’t life tough enough? With just a $9.6 million opening, it will have to be a juggernaut overseas if a sequel is to get a greenlight. And for what it’s worth, I’m still waiting for the movie to end. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean.

Rounding out the top five was last week’s number one, Kick-Ass. Another comic property, this one dropped faster than a deranged Armenian off the top of a building. It’ll probably make around $40-$50 million when it is all said and done. A number like that was probably a realistic expectation. Which is a shame, because it’s gotten great reviews, but with an R-rating and starring teens, adults just don’t want to go out and see it. And who can blame them. No adult wants to a child usurping their role as the authority figure. But if you see yourself as a big kid you’ve probably already seen it and are contemplating seeing it again.

With a gross of $385 million worldwide, Warner Bros. has its second bonafide hit of 2010 (after Valentine’s Day) in Clash of the Titans. I didn’t care for it, but I only speak for myself and not those who would rather see a poor 3-D presentation than seek out a film like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or A Prophet. Just like the original wasn’t a hit on US shores, the remake of Death at a Funeral isn’t fairing any better. I could have sworn I saw its trailer attached to every movie I saw in February, but apparently the ensemble involved wasn’t enough to make people to see it. Perhaps Sony should have confused the audiences and shown snippets of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker trying to get to the funeral fast and furious like.

Disney controls the bottom-rung of the top 10 with three films: its latest nature documentary Oceans with an impressive $8 million gross since its Earth Day opening; Nicolas Sparks’ The Last Song is nearing $60 million. When asked about its performance all Brendan Fraser could do was scream “Miley Cyrus!” Oh wait, I’m confusing his response for what he says in the upcoming release Furry Vengeance. If you’re a kid reading this box office report, may God have mercy on your soul if you’re parents force you to see it. And finally, Tim Burton’s latest mind-numbing visual cornucopia ups its take to $875 million worldwide, making it the 18th highest grossing film of all time. Its nestled in between Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#17) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (#19).

No new releases on the independent front, but Exit Through the Gift Shop did have the highest per-screen average of all films in release with $13,545, bringing its total to $391,000 on 11 screens after two weeks.

1. How to Train Your Dragon – $15 million ($178 mil.)
2. The Back-Up Plan – $12.3 million
3. Date Night – $10.6 million ($63 mil.)
4. The Losers – $9.6 million
5. Kick-Ass – $9.5 million ($35 mil.)
6. Clash of the Titans – $9 million ($146 mil.)
7. Death at a Funeral – $8 million ($28 mil.)
8. Oceans – $6 million ($8.5 mil.)
9. The Last Song – $3.7 million ($55 mil.)
10. Alice in Wonderland – $2.2 million ($327 mil.)

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