Ferrell's 'Megamind' makes mega debut
LOS ANGELES (AP)
Will Ferrell's plot to take over the weekend box office has succeeded.
Ferrell's animated super-villain comedy Megamind debuted as the number-one movie with US$47.7 million, according to studio estimates yesterday.
Along with the voices of Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill, the DreamWorks Animation release has Ferrell's title character hatching a scheme to fill the void in his life after he finally defeats his superhero nemesis.
Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis' road-trip comedy, Due Date, opened at a strong number two with US$33.5 million. The Warner Bros romp features the two stars as mismatched traveling companions who hit the highway from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
Tyler Perry's drama For Colored Girls, whose ensemble cast features Janet Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg, premiered solidly in third place with US$20.1 million. The Lionsgate release is based on Ntozake Shange's play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf.
The previous weekend's number-one movie, Lionsgate's horror tale Saw 3D, fell to number five with US$8.2 million, down a steep 66 per cent from opening weekend revenues.
While Megamind drew big family crowds on Saturday and Sunday, it also was the top draw last Friday, bringing in large numbers of adults without children, said Anne Globe, head of marketing for DreamWorks Animation.
"For us to be number one on Friday, it showed we did have a lot of appeal to teens, tweens and the date crowd," Globe said.
The three newcomers combined for a US$100 million haul, providing a big weekend for Hollywood, whose revenues have been lagging for most of the fall season.
Overall revenues came in at US$155 million, up 29.5 per cent from the same weekend a year ago, when A Christmas Carol led with US$30.1 million, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
The weekend also provided an early jump on the holidays, when big releases include the latest in the Harry Potter, Meet the Parents and Chronicles of Narnia franchises.
"Just like the first weekend in May has become the kickoff to the summer season, the first weekend in November has become the start of the holiday movie season," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
"Pound for pound, the coming weeks are just as important as the summer movie season."
Hollywood also had good results from some films opening in limited release. Fox Searchlight's survival story, 127 Hours, took in US$265,925 at four theatres, averaging a whopping US$66,481 a cinema. That compared to US$12,082 in 3,944 theatres for Megamind.
Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), 127 Hours stars James Franco in the real-life story of a mountain climber trapped for more than five days in a narrow canyon after a falling boulder pins his arm.
Another real-life drama, Summit Entertainment's political saga Fair Game, took in US$700,000 in 46 theatres for a US$15,217 average.
Fair Game features Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in the story of Valerie Plame, a Central Intelligence Agency operative whose cover was blown by a Bush administration leak.
Fair Game and 127 Hours gradually expand to more theatres in the coming weeks.
Directed by Todd Phillips, Due Date came in well below his previous movie, last year's blockbuster The Hangover, which opened with US$45 million and went on to top the domestic box-office charts for R-rated comedies with US$277 million.
But The Hangover played to a younger audience during the busier summer season.
"That was June, this is November. There are so many reasons that don't make it apples to apples," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros general sales manager.
Lionsgate hopes For Colored Girls will have staying power at the box office and broaden its audience, which was mostly older black women, with 87 per cent of the crowd over 25.
"You always want the biggest opening you can get, but the reality is, older-skewing films don't open as big, simply because older audiences don't flock to cinemas over opening weekend," said David Spitz, head of distribution for Lionsgate.
Estimated ticket sales are for last Friday through yesterday at United States and Canadian theatres, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released today.