SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Domestic grosses show that only $225K separate the two top pics as this weekend is proving to be a tight race among the box office leaders. It’ll come down to a Sunday photo finish to decide it. The only major newcomer — Fox’s 2D Date Night — had to open wide so it could even begin to compete on an equal footing with higher priced 3D tickets and more locations for Warner Bros’ Clash Of The Titans and DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon distributed by Paramount. Maybe the time has come for separate 2D and 3D box office weekly results and overall records? Or two weekend lists: the most popular movie vs the biggest moneymaker? Just throwing these idea out there as raw meat for Deadline commenters. Here’s the TOP 10:
1. DATE NIGHT (Fox) NEW [3,374 Runs]
Friday $9.1M, Saturday $10.7M, Sunday?, Weekend $27.1M?
There’s no doubt Date Night is the weekend’s most popular pic and maybe even biggest moneymaker. Sunday’s actual will either confirm or deny Fox’s $27.1M weekend total. (Warner Bros claims the figure is only $25.9M.) Granted Steve Carell and Tina Fey are reliable big and small screen comedy draws, but pre-release tracking was mediocre. And those laugh-challenged trailers made the film look like a tired 3rd remake of The Out Of Towners. Yet top critics on Rotten Tomatoes actually liked the pic (75% positive reviews). Friday’s number had Date Night outperforming the studio’s lowered expectations and in 1st place. But it may or may not hang on money-wise when 2D goes up against 3D. Its $27.1M debut is better than Fey’s Baby Mama ($17.4M) but worse than Carell’s Get Smart ($38.7M). Good thing for the movie there are few yucks in theaters now.
2. CLASH OF THE TITANS 3D (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,802]
Friday $8.4M, Saturday $11.1M, Sunday ?, Weekend $26.8M? (-56%), Cume $110.4M
Warner Bros is claimg a $26.8M weekend total with Sunday’s estimate — which is probably but not definitely good enough for No. 1 again money-wise for the 2nd straight weekend. Hollywood had predicted a big dropoff from poor word of mouth and the Good Friday holiday. (As one rival studio joked to me, “It fell faster than John Edwards’ presidential hopes…”) It ended down 68% from last Friday’s total that included the $1.6M in midnight shows, but also dropped only -48% from last Saturday. Gushing about “beating all expectations”, Warner Bros got its wish for “the brass ring” to be in play by closing the gap with Date Night which opened #1 Friday. Thank Clash‘s nearly 500 more theater locations and higher 3D ticket prices.
“I explained to you how the 2nd Friday of almost every action film (especially after a holiday 1st Friday) will drop between -60% and -70%, but then have a strong Saturday and Sunday result — reducing the weekend drop-off substantially,” a WB exec emailed me. “Clash is an action/adventure film that audiences enjoy and our end weekend box proved that with strong re$ults.” (Jeez, these people think they made Avatar instead of retrofitted a cheezy 2D campfest into a cheezy 3D campfest for the extra moolah.) Stay tuned for Sunday’s actual.
3. TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3D (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) Week 3 [4,007]
Friday $7.1M, Saturday $10.4M, Weekend $25.3M, Cume $133.8M
Some experts thought Dragon might move into 2nd place by Sunday. Nope. But it’s holding up.
4. WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO (Lionsgate) Week 2 [2,155]
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $4.8M, Weekend $11M (-62%), Cume $48.5M
Friday’s huge -71% drop-off compared to a week ago was a warning signal, especially considering the first WHY DID I GET MARRIED had the lowest 2nd weekend percentage drop of all Tyler Perry’s movies. After Saturday’s take, the sequel climbed up a notch on the Top 10.
5. THE LAST SONG (Disney) Week 2 [2,674]
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $4.1M, Weekend $10M (-37%), Cume $42.4M
This was a respectable drop-off for the Miley Cyrus vehicle based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. But, as predicted, Tyler Perry jumped in front.
6. ALICE IN WONDERLAND 3D (Disney) Week 6 [2,530]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $5.6M, Cume $319.3M
With total domestic gross of $319.3M, and international of $461.5M, the total worldwide gross so far is $780.8M.
7. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE (UA/MGM) Week 3 [2,611]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.4M, Cume $36.9M
8. THE BOUNTY HUNTER (Sony) Week 4 [2,901]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.3M, Estimated Cume $56M
9. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (Fox) Week 4 [2,453]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $4.1M, Cume $53.7M
10. LETTERS TO GOD (Vivendi) NEW 
Friday $395K, Weekend $1.2M