First look: 'Date Night' may have edged out 'Clash of the Titans'; 'How to Train Your Dragon' drops just 13%
There was a razor-thin race between the new romantic comedy "Date Night" and the second weekend of the 3-D blockbuster "Clash of the Titans" for the top spot at the box office this weekend, but it was "How to Train Your Dragon" that ended up with the most to crow about.
Ticket sales for DreamWorks Animation's animated feature "Dragon" dropped a minuscule 13% on its third weekend to $25.3 million from Friday through Sunday, according to an estimate from distributor Paramount Pictures. That impressive performance erases any doubts that the 3-D movie will end up a hit despite its tepid debut. It's the smallest third-weekend drop ever for a DreamWorks Animation movie, signifying extraordinarily positive word-of-mouth.
Its domestic total after three weeks is $133.9 million. That's just $6.3 million short of DreamWorks' "Monsters vs. Aliens" at the same point last year, even though the previous movie's opening weekend was $15.6 million higher. "Dragon" now looks very likely to pass the $200-million mark that signifies a hit for DreamWorks Animation.
"Date Night," which stars Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, opened to a solid $27.1 million, a bit above expectations coming into the weekend. That's the biggest opening ever for a film starring "30 Rock's" Fey, though behind some recent bigger-budget offerings from "The Office's" Carrell, such as "Get Smart" and "Evan Almighty." 20th Century Fox and Dune Entertainment spent about $55 million to make the film.
"Clash of the Titans" came in just $200,000 behind "Date Night," grossing an estimated $26.9 million on its second weekend. That's down 56% from the 3-D action epic's start, a sizable decline but not as huge as the 60%-plus that some in Hollywood had predicted given the mixed response of audiences last week. The $122-million production, co-financed by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, has taken in a healthy $110.5 million in the U.S. and Canada after 10 days.
The estimated weekend grosses for "Date Night" and "Titans" were so close that they could easily switch positions when exact ticket sales for Sunday are calculated on Monday morning. At least two studios not affiliated with either film estimated that "Titans" would end up with a higher total for the weekend.
Ticket sales for Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married Too" plummeted 62% on the movie's second weekend to $11 million, reflecting the writer-director's recent trend of big drops after strong starts for his low-budget movies that appeal primarily to African American women. The Miley Cyrus romantic tearjerker "The Last Song" declined a relatively modest 37% on its second weekend to $10 million.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Tina Fey, Steve Carrell and Mark Wahlberg in "Date Night." Credit: Suzanne Tenner / 20th Century Fox