by Brandon Gray
The Kraken was released, and it devoured the Easter bunny.
Fated to be the big movie of April 2, Clash of the Titans fulfilled its destiny with an estimated $61.4 million, shattering the Easter opening weekend record formerly held by Scary Movie 4 ($40.2 million). Between the Titans, Tyler Perry, Dragons and Miley Cyrus, the weekend as a whole set an April benchmark and was up 15 percent from last year.
Clamoring onto approximately 6,700 screens at 3,777 theaters, Clash of the Titans, which has grossed $64.1 million including its Thursday night previews, boasted the second highest-grossing April debut ever behind Fast and Furious, which generated $71 million on the same weekend last year. However, the Clash remake fell short of the movie that spawned its green-lighting, which wasn’t the 1981 original, but the Spring 2007 release and Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures stable mate 300. 300 unleashed $70.9 million in its first weekend on around 4,800 screens at 3,103 sites without the aid of 3D. Clash’s initial attendance was also lower than Troy but appears to have been a smidgen higher than Gladiator, among past similar titles.
3D presentations played a major role in Clash of the Titans’ launch, even though the picture didn’t score as many as Avatar, Alice in Wonderland or How to Train Your Dragon due those pictures (particularly the latter), still taking up much of the limited 3D space. Clash showed in 3D on 1,810 screens at 1,602 sites, 579 fewer than Dragon, which still had exhibitors locked in. 3D accounted for 52 percent of Clash’s opening, which means the 3D ticket price premium over 2D added an estimated $10 million to the bottom line. “The more [3D screens] you have the better off you are,” said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “You do the best you can. We were the last ones in the marketplace. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll be able to pick up more.”
Warner Bros. reported Clash of the Titans’ audience breakdown as 64 percent male and 58 percent 25 years and older. The 13-to-39-year-old age group accounted for 72 percent of moviegoers. By comparison, 300’s initital audience was 60 percent male and 48 percent 25 years and older. Clash’s male skew makes sense, because the picture was sold as an adrenalin-rush action movie largely devoid of story and character (despite an attempt to court females with a clumsy promo on American Idol and a catchy reprise of the original’s “Release the Kraken” line, bellowed by Liam Neeson). The new Clash stripped the romance from the original movie (not to mention the Greek myth), in which Perseus is motivated by his love for Andromeda, not by revenge (on the Gods) like in the remake. 300 was a manly man movie, but its marketing still emphasized the storyline and the characters along with the spectacle. Clash’s changes appear to have limited its potential.
The mighty Tyler Perry also struck Easter weekend with Why Did I Get Married Too?, a sequel to his 2007 ensemble comedy hit. It drew an estimated $30.2 million on around 2,900 screens at 2,155 venues, exceeding the $21.4 million start of its predecessor and ranking as one of Perry’s best launches yet. According to distributor Lionsgate, the picture’s demographics were as expected: 80 percent female, 75 percent over 25 years old and 80 percent black.
Warbling to the tune of an estimated $16.2 million over the weekend on close to 3,300 screens at 2,673 sites, The Last Song’s audience also was over 80 percent females, according to distributor Walt Disney Pictures, albeit much younger ones than Why Did I Get Married Too?’s. The romantic/family drama starring Miley Cyrus has grossed $25.6 million since its Wednesday start, which was quite solid for the genre, despite being much less than Cyrus’ Hannah Montana The Movie’s $39.6 million five-day beginning last April as well as the last Nicholas Sparks adaptation, Dear John. “We were there for young women [on this competitive weekend],” said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Walt Disney. “Miley stepped outside the comfort zone of Hannah Montana, and showed her strength bringing that many fans with her.”
Last weekend’s top-grossing movie, How to Train Your Dragon, was still ablaze, descending 33 percent to an estimated $29.2 million and lifting its total to $92.3 million in ten days. Last year, Monsters Vs. Aliens also fell 33 percent on Easter weekend, although that was its third session and its total was higher. 2,181 out of Dragon’s 4,060 theaters had 3D, which comprised 65 percent of the weekend gross.
Alice in Wonderland took its biggest loss yet, tumbling 53 percent to an estimated $8.3 million after shedding most of its 3D screens to make room for Clash of the Titans. As consolation, its total stands at a lofty $309.8 million in 31 days. Meanwhile, Hot Tub Time Machine didn’t pick up any steam nor did it drain out, decreasing 43 percent to an estimated $8 million for a $27.8 million total in ten days.
At the foreign box office, Clash of the Titans had a winning opening salvo, nabbing an estimated $44.2 million in 15 markets. Of its 4,240 screens, 30 percent were in 3D and made up 55 percent of the gross. In second, How to Train Your Dragon generated an estimated $38.5 million in 54 markets, tallying nearly $100 million thus far, while Alice in Wonderland was third with an estimated $34.2 million in 51 markets, bringing its total to $422.3 million.