2ND UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:20 PM: Disney’s eye-candy version of Cinderella opened to $2.3M less than estimated yesterday with a final box office tally of $67.8M. However the princess movie went over initial tracking estimates going into the weekend. You can’t beat Disney’s marketing prowess. Second to none but come on, $2.3M off Sunday’s number? Over $70M makes a better headline and touting that meant it was higher than Maleficent which debuted at $69.4M … which it Wasn’t. With an A CinemaScore, it should have a good second weekend and expect a tidy profit when all is said and done.

It was a rougher weekend for Warner Bros. and Liam Neeson with Run All Night which marked the actor’s lowest opening with $11M — A Walk Among The Tombstones made $12.75M when it bowed last fall from Universal. It did, however, garner an A- CinemaScore but clearly audiences are showing fatigue for Neeson in these kind of seen-this-before roles. Another R-rated shoot-em-up. Heavy sigh.

Next weekend wide releases include Lionsgate’s next in its Divergent franchise, Insurgent and Open Road’s Gunman starring Idris Elba, Javier Bardem and Sean Penn. Here is this weekend’s final Top 20:

1). Cinderella (DIS), 3,845 theaters / 3-Day: $67.8M / Per screen average: $17,653 / Wk 1

2).  Run All Night (WB), 3,171 theaters / 3-Day: $11M / Per screen: $3,473 / Wk 1

3). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 2,635 theaters (-466) / 3-Day: $6.2M (-25%) / Per screen: $2,359 / Total Cume: $107.3M / Wk 5

4). Focus (WB), 2,855 theaters (-468) / 3-Day: $5.7M (-43%) / Per screen: $2,010 / Total Cume: $43.9M/ Wk 3

5). Chappie (Sony), 3,201 theaters (0) / 3-Day: $5.7M (-57%) / Per screen: $1,782 / Total Cume: $23.3M/ Wk 2

6). The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (FSL), 2,022 theaters (+449) / 3-Day: $5.68M (-33%) / Per screen: $2,812 / Total Cume: $18M / Wk 2

7). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (PAR), 2,659 theaters (-438) / 3-Day: $4M (-38%) / Per screen: $1,513 / Total Cume: $154.6M / Wk 6

8). McFarland USA (DIS), 2,455 theaters (-337) / 3-Day: $3.6M (-31%) / Per screen: $1,468 / Total Cume: $34.8M / Wk 4

9). Fifty Shades Of Grey (UNI), 2039 theaters (-749) / 3-Day: $2.86M (-48%) / Per screen: $1,405 / Total Cume: $161.3 / Wk 5

10). The Duff (CBS/LGF), 2,301 theaters (-258) / 3-Day: $2.85M (-40%) / Per screen: $1,241 / Total Cume: $30.2M / Wk 4

11). The Lazurus Effect (REL), 2054 theaters (-612) / 3-Day: $2.8M (-44%) / Per screen: $1,386 / Total Cume: $21.77M / Wk 3

12). American Sniper (WB), 2,001 theaters (-544) / 3-Day: $2.8M (-36%) / Per screen: $1,405 / Total Cume: $341.3M / Wk 12

13). Unifinished Business (Fox), 2,777 theaters (0) / 3-Day: $2.3M (-51%) / Per screen: $834 / Total Cume: $8.69M / Wk 2

14). Still Alice (SPC), 740 theaters (-457) / 3-Day: $897,233 (-43%) / Per screen: $1,212 / Total Cume: $16.3M / Wk 9

15). Paddington (TWC), 837 theaters (-298) / 3-Day: $701,829 (-44%) / Per screen: $839 / Total Cume: $73.2M / Wk 9

16). The Imitation Game (TWC), 525 theaters (-337) / 3-Day: $665,205 (-41%) / Per screen: $1,267 / Total Cume: $89.5M / Wk 16

17). Jupiter Ascending (WB), 454 theaters (-489) / 3-Day: $509,233 (-54%) / Per screen: $1,122 / Total Cume: $45.9M / Wk 6

18). A La Mala ILGF), 273 theaters (-111) / 3-Day: $362,009 (-56%) / Per screen: $1,326 / Total Cume: $3.2M / Wk 3

19). What We Do In The Shadows (Paladin), 126 theaters (+26) / 3-Day: $321,925 (+1%) / Per screen: $2,555 / Total Cume: $1.37M / Wk 5

20). The Wedding Ringer (SONY), 277 theaters (-33) / 3-Day: $269.412 (-22%) / Per screen: $973 / Total Cume: $63.99M / Wk 9

UPDATE, SUNDAY, 10:35 AM: With a spectacular opening of $70.1M at 3,171 theaters, Disney’s Cinderella continued to demonstrate Hollywood’s success in building features that appeal to women on a mass level. Rom-coms were a reliable way to get women in the door back in the 1980s and 1990s, and females remain more fervent, devoted moviegoers than males, who have recently shown to be fractured in their attendance at action films and star-driven fare (i.e., Chappie and Focus aren’t wowing them, but 20th Century Fox’s Kingsman, with over $107M, is). The trend has been going on for at least seven years, arguably starting with 2008’s Twilight and Sex and the City which respectively drew young females and older women. But Disney has demonstrated over and over again that they’ve got the goods — the princess goods — when it comes to getting girls into seats. Cinderella drew more women this weekend at 66% than other Disney-femme fare of late, besting Maleficent (60%), Frozen (57%) and Alice in Wonderland (55%).

cinderella 5Like Fifty Shades of Grey, Friday was an older girls’ night out for Cinderella. While Fifty’s Valentine’s Day Saturday drew mostly couples, Cinderella‘s Saturday drew families, which numbed 66% for the weekend.  The under 25ers outweighed the older bunch at 55%, with 12 and under comprising a little over a third of Cinderella‘s patrons. As mentioned in the Friday post below, aside from kids being off on spring break this weekend, Cinderella‘s success also stemmed from Disney firing its marketing cylinders across all its departments over the last two years-plus in raising the profile of the film.

Lily James, Richard MaddenDisney distribution chief Dave Hollis says Cinderella‘s success boiled down to “the production and marketing components at Disney. The key to adapting a beloved property remains its sense of originality. In this instance you have a compelling story with a strong, contemporary female protagonist. It’s the live version of a classic you think you know. Disney’s marketing department created an event for a popular brand with urgency and drive. Because of the materials from the delicious stepmother to the the romance between Cinderella and the prince; when you put all these different components together, you’re driving a film to high heights. There’s quite a momentum for the live-action versions of these fairy tales, particularly in the wake of Into the Woods and Maleficent, but also with The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast on the horizon. There’s clearly an audience here.”

Thanks to her presence at the B.O. this weekend, Cinderella pushed 2015 past the $2B mark according to Rentrak Theatrical (currently this year, pacing ahead of 2014 by 4.3%).  In Kenneth Branagh’s directorial canon, Cinderella ranks as his highest opening beating his Marvel Thor which opened to $65.7M. Cinderella‘s B.O. also inches out the bow of Disney’s previous fairy tale live-action adaptation, Maleficent, which made $69.4M and also ranks as the third highest Disney March bow after Alice in Wonderland ($116.1M) and Oz The Great and Powerful ($79.1M). IMAX, which had been on the sidelines when such family films like Frozen and The LEGO Movie were in the market, made sure they had a seat at the ball, earning a 2D PG opening record with Cinderella grossing $5M at 358 hubs. Cinderella rallied all films to $131M this weekend in total tickets sales according to Rentrak, a 15% hike over the same period last year and 47% surge over last weekend’s glum.

run all night 4Armed with an awesome A- Cinemascore and pretty decent reviews, Warner Bros.’ $50M-budgeted Liam Neeson mob tale Run All Night didn’t hit its mid-teen B.O. projections, filing second with $11M at 3,171 locations. Among his solo actioners of late, it is Neeson’s lowest, slotting below last fall’s A Walk Among the Tombstones ($12.8M). Despite the great praise Run All Night earned, sources say auds are O.D.ed on his shoot-em ups. One rival production executive pointed out, “This is Liam Neeson’s third action film in seven months, and no star should do that” with a genre.  It’s no wonder that the actor in recent interviews has said that he is backing away from action films in two years. Some attribute Run All Night‘s misfire to its marketing; It was largely promoted as another Neeson actioner, rather than as an anomaly. Pic drew an ironic amount of stats: Older females, not guys, largely flocked to the film, repping 52% of the crowd (over 25ers made up 86%). Also, the fact that Run All Night didn’t play as strongly in the west and south versus the east prompted further head-scratching. While Run All Night saw double digit spikes on Saturday over Friday in such markets as Washington D.C. (+24%), Philadelphia (+34%) and Toronto (+47%); Dallas was down 7%, San Francisco up only 1% and Los Angeles 4%.

Among the sophomores, Sony/Media Rights Capital’s Chappie, which was No. 1 last weekend, fell 57% to fifth place with $5.8M and a 10-day total of $23.3M. 20th Century Fox’s Unfinished Business charted outside the top 10, falling 53% with $2.2M and a 10-day stateside cume of $8.6M. Fox Searchlight’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel held well with a 33% decline and a 10-day haul of $18M. The wow factor this weekend among holdovers: Warner Bros.’ American Sniper was so strong it popped back into the top 10 with a total gross of $341.5M and kicked out kinky Fifty Shades of Grey, which is set to rank in 11th.

The top 10 films based on studio-reported estimates:

1). Cinderella (DIS), 3,845 theaters  / $23M* Fri. / $27M Sat. (+18%) /$19.9M Sun. (-26%)/3-Day: $70.05M / Wk 1

2).  Run All Night (WB), 3,171 theaters  / $3.86M* Fri./ $4.47M Sat. (+16%) /$2.68M Sun. (-40%)/ 3-Day: $11.015M/Wk 1

3). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 2,635 theaters (-466) / $1.67M Fri. /$2.85M Sat. (+71%) /$1.6M Sun. (-41%)/ 3-Day: $6.2M (-25%)/ Total Cume: $107.3M/ Wk 5

4). Focus (WB), 2,855 theaters (-468) / $1.7M Fri. /$2.56M Sat. (+51%) /$1.5M Sun. (-40%) / 3-Day: $5.805M (-42%)/Total Cume: $44M/Wk 3

5). Chappie (Sony), 3,201 theaters (0) / $1.57M Fri./$2.47M Sat. (+57%) /$1.7M Sun. (-31%) / 3-Day: $5.8M (-57%)/ Total Cume: $23.3M/Wk 2

6). The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (FSL), 2,022 theaters (+449) / $1.62M Fri. /$2.47M Sat. (+52%)/$1.6M Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day: $5.7M (-33%) /Total Cume: $18M/Wk 2

7). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (PAR), 2,659 theaters (-438)  / $950K Fri. / $1.9M Sat. (+100%)/$1.2M Sun. (-34%)/ 3-Day: $4.1M (-38%)/Total Cume: $154.7M/ Wk 6

8). McFarland USA (DIS), 2,455 theaters (-337) / $1M Fri. /$1.6M Sat. (+55%) /$1M Sun. (-38%) / 3-Day: $3.69M (-29%)/Total Cume: $34.9M/ Wk 4

9). American Sniper (WB), 2,001 theaters (-544)  / $755K Fri./ $1.4M Sat. (+86%) /$770K Sun. (-45%) / 3-Day: $2.93M (-33%)/Total Cume: $341.5M/Wk 12

10). The Duff (CBS/LGF), 2,301 theaters (-258)/ $949K Fri. /$1.29M Sat. (+36%) /$656K Sun. (-49%) / 3-Day: $2.9M (-39%)/Total Cume: $30.3M/ Wk 4

*includes Thursday previews

Notables:

11.) Fifty Shades Of Grey (UNI/Focus), 2,039 theaters (-749) / $938K Fri. / $1.26M Sat. (+35%)/$693K Sun. (-45%)/3-Day: $2.89M (-48%)/Total Cume: $161.4M/ Wk 5

13.) Unfinished Business (Fox), 2,777 theaters (0) / $720K Fri. /$980K Sat. (+36%)/$565K Sun. (-42%)/ 3-Day: $2.2M (-53%) /Total Cume: $8.6M/Wk 2

Limited Releases (per industry estimates)

It Follows (RAD), 4 theaters  / $44K Fri. /$62K Sat. (+41%) / $54K Sun. (-12%) /3-Day PSA: $40,061/3-Day: $160K / Wk 1

Going Clear: Scientology (HBO), 3 theaters  / $20K Fri. /$23.5K Sat. (+18%)/$17.6K Sun. (-25%)/3-Day PSA: $20,394/3-Day: $61K / Wk 1

The Wrecking Crew (MAG), 10 theaters  / $19K Fri. /$23K Sat. (+19%)/$15K Sun. (-35%)/3-Day PSA: $5,736/3-Day: $57K / Wk 1

Seymour: An Introduction (IFC), 2 theaters / $5.6K Fri. /$11.4K Sat. (+104%)/$7.4K Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day PSA: $12,281/3-Day: $25K / Wk 1

The Cobbler (IMAGE), 20 theaters  / $7K Fri. /$9.6K Sat. (+35%)/$5.7K Sun. (-40%)/3-Day: $23K / Wk 1

3 Hearts (IFC), 1 theaters / $2.9K Fri. /$5.2K Sat. (+81%)/$3.4K Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day: $12K / Wk 1

Eva (TWC), 50 theaters / $3.35K Fri./ $4.4K Sat. (+31%)/$2.4K Sun. (-45%)/ 3-Day: $10,150 /Wk 1

PREVIOUS, MARCH 14 AM: Scroll below for studio-reported Friday estimates. There’s no need for Disney studio execs to phone the fairy godmother this weekend: Cinderella is lookin’ fine, and with a smoldering A CinemaScore, her ball at the box office shows no signs of an abrupt midnight ending any time soon. The Kenneth Branagh-directed adaptation is still on track for an opening day of $23M with a revised industry estimated three-day of $70.5M. Among all Disney films opening in March, Cinderella will rank as the third highest behind Alice in Wonderland ($116.1M) and Oz The Great and Powerful ($79.1M).

As expected, the ladies waltzed to Cinderella, repping 77% of the audience. Across all demos, Cinderella dazzled, drawing varying degrees of an A grade from everyone who saw it — even the testosterone 23% of the crowd. 56% of all ticket buyers were under 25 and gave it an A. The 35+ demo kissed Cinderella with an A+.

RUN ALL NIGHTAnd Cinderella wasn’t the only belle of the CinemaScores ball tonight. Since breaking out as a solo action star in 2009Liam Neeson earned his third A- with Warner Bros.’ mob pic Run All Night following last year’s Non-Stop and 2009’s Taken. Run All Night marks the actor’s third outing with Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra after Non-Stop and 2011’s Unknown. However, with a FSS of $11.44M, Run All Night is looking to chart lower than those films’ respective openings of $28.9M and $21.9M. Run‘s Friday is projected to punch $3.9M per industry figures, but Warners sees it a just a tad less with $3.855M this morning. Non-Stop generated a 3.2x from its bow ($92.2M). Hopefully good word of mouth spreads from the CinemaScore for Run All Night, beating the 3.5x that comes with an A- average. Yes, late winter has been a platform for Neeson’s non-Taken titles, but perhaps having a greater distance on the calendar from Taken 3 (total cume to date $88.4M), which bowed just 10 weekends ago, would have created more want-to-see this time around.

In regards to Cinderella‘s ducats this weekend, the question is how high family matinees swell her coffers. One industry projection shows a 30% spike on Saturday for Cinderella over Friday or $29.9M total for the day.  That uptick is just below the +37% posted by Oz The Great and Powerful on its Saturday. While Cinderella looks to post a weekend opening similar to last year’s Disney Memorial Day opener Maleficent ($69.4M), that film only saw a 6% uptick on Saturday over Friday, but benefited from strong midweek play thanks to summer traffic. Maleficent earned an A as well and legged out with a 3.5x ($241.4M).

FRIDAY BOX OFFICE MARCH 13

Disney has been prepping Cinderella’s way for more than two years. At that point director Mark Romanek backed away from the project, but Cate Blanchett remained attached. Apparently, Disney had been testing actresses for the title character as far back as 2012, in particular Saoirse Ronan. By April 2013, Branagh had boarded the project and was testing three actresses for the glass slipper — Lily James (who landed the role), Margot Robbie and Bella Heathcote. The studio tied the news up in a bow for fans at its D23 confab in August 2013 with an announcement, concept art and a teaser video of Branagh describing the project. Snippets of James’ screen test were also shown.

harrod cinderellaThe Mouse House dropped a teaser trailer last May, followed by a second one in November. The studio also pulled out all the stops to market Cinderella as a big event, with midnight-themed stunts on ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and a Times Square takeover. Character reveals photographed by Annie Leibovitz were unveiled in Vogue. Cindy‘s marketing partnerships included MAC Cosmetics, JCPenney, Kohls, HSN, and Saks Fifth Avenue, the latter of which included a shoe collaboration with nine high-end designers like Jimmy Choo and Ferragamo. Over in London, my colleague Nancy Tartaglione mentioned that the Harrods’ window displays were fully decked with Cinderella and Disney princess high-fashion scenes.

Cinderella counted digital partnerships with Tumblr, Twitter, Maker, Fandango, Instabrand, and WeHeartIt, among others. Per RelishMix, Cinderella‘s social media footprint recently was spurred by 83M YouTube views, 52% of them over the last two weeks, driven by the Frozen Fever trailer teaser that’s showing prior to Cinderella. Not only is this cross-promotion driving YouTube views, but also videos for Play Doh and Cinderella toys. Cinderella‘s Facebook counts 13.7M likes. Lily James official Instagram has been chronicling her international premiere tour of Cinderella in Berlin, Moscow and Toronto, not to mention touting her princess fashion.

That's a wrap… Thank you @eonline for letting me takeover your Instagram!! Xx

A photo posted by @lilyjamesofficial on

Among second weekend holdovers, Chappie is looking at a 59% drop per industry estimates in sixth place with $5.46M.  Sony sees it a little lower at $5.3M. 20th Century Fox’s Vince Vaughn comedy Unfinished Business is seeing sour business, falling outside the top 10 with a $715K Friday per Fox.  Industry estimates see the pic’s second FSS at an estimated $2.16M off 55%. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel from the studio’s classic label Fox Searchlight is seeing a soft decline of 32% in its second sesh with $5.79M in fourth and a total 10-day cume by Sunday of $18.2M.  The first installment in 2012 finaled at $46.4M stateside.

it followsAmong frosh limited releases, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows from RADiUS-TWC and Northern Lights Films is looking at a beefy per screen of $29,373 at four theaters in New York and Los Angeles or $117K for FSS. The horror film, which premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and carries a 95% fresh Tomatometer score, tells the story of a teenage girl who, after a sexual encounter, is haunted by nightmarish visions.

The top 10 films per industry estimates for March 13-15 ranked by weekend B.O. as of 2 AM Saturday:

1). Cinderella (DIS), 3,845 theaters  / $23M* Fri. / 3-Day: $70.5M / Wk 1

2).  Run All Night (WB), 3,171 theaters  / $3.9M* Fri./ 3-Day: $11.44M /Wk 1

3). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 2,635 theaters (-466) / $1.62M Fri. (-27%)/ 3-Day: $6.2M (-25%)/ Total Cume: $107.1M/ Wk 5

4). The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (FSL), 2,022 theaters (+449) / $1.6M Fri. (-40%)/ 3-Day: $5.79M (-32%)/Total Cume: $18.2M/Wk 2

5). Focus (WB), 2,855 theaters (-468) / $1.6M Fri. (-45%)/ 3-Day: $5.5M (-45%)/Total Cume: $43.6M /Wk 3

6). Chappie (Sony), 3,201 theaters (0) / $1.5M Fri. (-66%)/ 3-Day: $5.46M (-59%)/ Total Cume: $23.2M /Wk 2

7). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (PAR), 2,659 theaters (-438)  / $954K Fri. (-31%)/ 3-Day: $4.6M (-31%)/Total Cume: $155.2M/ Wk 6

8). McFarland USA (DIS), 2,455 theaters (-337) / $961K Fri. (-34%) / 3-Day: $3.5M (-33%) /Total Cume: $34.8M/ Wk 4

9). Fifty Shades Of Grey (UNI/Focus), 2,039 theaters (-749) / $936K Fri. (-47%) / 3-Day: $3M (-45%)/Total Cume: $161.2M/ Wk 5

10). The Duff (CBS/LGF), 2,301 theaters (-258)/ $921K Fri. (-40%) / 3-Day: $2.9M (-38%)/Total Cume: $30.1M/ Wk 4

*includes Thursday previews

American Sniper (WB), 2,001 theaters (-544)  / $734K Fri. (-36%)/ 3-Day: $2.77M (-37%) /Total Cume: $341.3M /Wk 12

Unfinished Business (Fox), 2,777 theaters (0) / $685K Fri. (-62%)/ 3-Day: $2.16M (-55%) /Total Cume: $8.5M /Wk 2

Limited releases:

It Follows (RAD), 4 theaters  / $40K Fri. /3-Day PSA: $29,373/3-Day: $117K / Wk 1

The Wrecking Crew (MAG), 7 theaters  / $18K Fri. /3-day PSA: $7K/3-Day: $54K / Wk 1

Going Clear: Scientology (HBO), 2 theaters  / $16K Fri. /3-Day PSA: $22K/3-Day: $44K / Wk 1

The Cobbler (IMAGE), 17 theaters  / $8K Fri. /3-Day: $25K / Wk 1