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Box Office Update 3/26-3/28: How to Train Your Dragon Boots Alice

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Alice in Wonderland has finally been knocked off its perch. Yes, it took until the film's fourth weekend, but it has happened. It is still doing phenomenally well and will be the first film of 2010 to cross the $300 million mark. Disney is so happy with its performance that they are courting Tim Burton and screenwriter Linda Woolverton back into the fold for another update, this time of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Not sure how I feel about it. I wish Burton would get dark again.

Well, with Alice out of the way, what was the number one movie? It was none other than How to Train Your Dragon, the latest from DreamWorks Animation. I have to say that at first I was not all that interested in it. The first trailer was not particularly special and I was more than prepared to write it off. Then the next trailer came out, I saw a couple of clips, and my attitude changed. It looked quite good. The I started reading positive buzz around it, so off I went. I am glad I did. The animated fantasy turned out to be quite excellent. Good voice acting, the story has heart, and the 3D animation is quite spectacular. This is definitely one to see.

Third place this week is owned by the second wide release of the weekend, Hot Tub Time Machine. A film with an unlikely title proved to be a mediocre draw at the box office. I hoped it would open better than the $13.6 million it got, but you have to figure a movie with a title like this is going to be a hard sell no matter how you slice it. The end result though is an utterly hilarious movie that is a fine piece of loosely constructed science fiction wrapped up in an over-the-top, raunchy comedy. Take Back to the Future and give it a Farrelly Brothers/Judd Apatow twist. This is one to see with a large group of people.

Most of the second half of the list was a dogfight. Places six through 10 were separated by a mere $1.5 million, not a very big spread. A few more tickets in a couple of key locations and the order could have been completely different.

Looking outside the top ten there is one notable piece of news. In its 15th weekend Avatar has finally dropped out of the top ten. It has crossed the $740 million mark and could make its way to $750 million. It is a historic run the film has had, perhaps not quite like Titanic's, but there is no denying the accomplishment.

Next weekend is Easter weekend and three new movies are entering wide release, only one of which I am interested in. The Last Song is the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, an author I have heard enough from. The film stars Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear. Tyler Perry's latest also arrives in theaters, a sequel entitled Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?. Finally there is the big action film Clash of the Titans starring Sam Worthington. It will be available in both 2D and 3D. I recommend the 2D as the 3D was an afterthought by studio suits and was never intended. Two movies dropped off the list this week: Avatar (11) and Remember Me (12).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N How to Train Your Dragon $43,300,000 $43,300,000 1
2 1 Alice in Wonderland (2010) $17,300,000 $293,100,000 4
3 N Hot Tub Time Machine $13,650,000 $13,650,000 1
4 3 The Bounty Hunter $12,400,000 $38,812,000 2
5 2 Diary of a Wimpy Kid $10,000,000 $35,776,000 2
6 6 She's Out of My League $3,526,000 $25,601,000 3
7 5 Green Zone $3,350,000 $30,440,000 3
8 7 Shutter Island $3,175,000 $120,600,000 6
9 4 Repo Men $3,048,000 $11,342,000 2
10 9 Our Family Wedding $2,200,000 $16,785,000 3

Box Office Predictions Recap

Overall I feel pretty good about how this weekend matched up with my predictions. Whichever side of the board you look at, the numbers are pretty close to where they should be based on where I thought they were going to land. I was a bit under on each of this week's new releases but not terribly so. I would say my biggest gaffe was having Avatar make the top ten one more time. With the 3D theaters it has lost to Alice in Wonderland and How to Train Your Dragon, combined with the upcoming home video release date (4/22) I should have known better.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 How to Train Your Dragon $43,300,000 $48 million
2 2 Alice in Wonderland (2010) $17,300,000 $18 million
3 3 Hot Tub Time Machine $13,650,000 $16.5 million
5 4 Diary of a Wimpy Kid $10,000,000 $12 million
4 5 The Bounty Hunter $12,400,000 $10 million
6 6 She's Out of My League $3,526,000 $4 million
9 7 Repo Men $3,048,000 $3.75 million
7 8 Green Zone $3,350,000 $3.5 million
11 9 Avatar $2,015,000 $3.25 million
8 10 Shutter Island $3,175,000 $3 million
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