'Battle: LA' Opens #1 For $36M Weekend; 'Red Riding Hood' Debuts Soft At #3; But 'Mars Needs Moms' Is Big Money Loser

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: Here’s how the North American box office is shaping up for this weekend based on Friday, Saturday, weekend and cumulative grosses. It was an overall $129 million weekend, which is still down (-12%) compared to last year’s fired-up Alice In Wonderland 3D totals.

1. Battle: Los Angeles (Sony) NEW [3,417 Theaters]
Friday $13.5, Saturday $3.7M, Weekend $39M

Sony Pictures’ PG-13 sci-fi actioner Battle: Los Angeles opened as the big #1 this weekend with $13.5M Friday and +2% for $13.7M Saturday. With the studio claiming the pic only cost $70M (I don’t buy it), it met the lower end of expectations of weekend grosses around $36M. That’s Sony’s fourth consecutive #1 film debut this year following The Green Hornet, Just Go With It and The Roommate. The film received a “B” overall CinemaScore, but an “A” from young men under age 18 and an “A-” from all moviegoers under 25. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, produced by Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur, and written by Chris Bertolini, the pic had a very fresh-looking marketing campaign overseen by Jeff Blake and Marc Weinstock with exec Doug Belgrad. It didn’t hurt that the studio also generated a lot of press timed to the anniversary of an actual 1942 UFO sighting in Los Angeles that prompted a full military response including an all-out assault along the coast with artillery. Fast forward to nowadays: sorry, but I suspect that LA would be the last place on earth to become the last stand for mankind. (Dogs or dolphins, yes. Mankind, no.) The film opened day and date in 33 territories this weekend, including Mexico, Russia, Korea, and the UK, and earned $16.7M with mostly #1 debuts, for a worldwide total of $52.7M.

2. Rango (Paramount) Week 2 [3,923 Theaters]
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $10.2M, Weekend $23M (-39%), Cume $68.6M

Paramount’s winner from last weekend, the toon Rango, stayed a strong #2.

3. Red Riding Hood (Warner Bros) NEW [3,030 Theaters]
Friday $5M, Saturday $5.7M, Weekend $14.1M

Warner Bros’ unfortunately titled Red Riding Hood performed much softer than the predicted weekend of $20M — only $14.1M. (Every time I saw a trailer, it reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s dreadful The Village…) It failed to meet even the studio’s lowered expectations Friday and Saturday as Spring Break begins to kick off. Teen girls, for whom the $39M-budget movie was aimed, never showed up in the droves that Warner Bros had hoped since director Catherine Hardwicke couldn’t attract her Twilight fans (teen girls and their moms). Not even an American Idol marketing integration ploy helped. The film was positioned as a re-imagined haunting of a classic legend complete with love triangle, which was treated as a secondary element throughout the marketing campaign compared to highlighting the “Who Is The Wolf?” mystery. Though the film was counter-programming the male-targeted Battle: Los Angeles, Warner Bros hoped to engage males on a secondary level. But, c’mon, what guy is going to a movie titled Red Riding Hood?

4. The Adjustment Bureau (MRC/Universal) Week 2 [2,847 Theaters]
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $5.5M, Weekend $12M (-46%), Cume $38.4M

MRC/Universal’s holdover The Adjustment Bureau stayed #4, down only 46% from a week ago.

5. Mars Needs Moms (Imagemovers/Disney) NEW [3,117 Theaters]
Friday $1.8, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $6.8M

But the movie that Hollywood was talking about all weekend was Disney’s Mars Needs Moms 3D. Why? Because the Dick Cook leftover wound up one of the biggest money losers of all time. It cost $150M but, even with the higher 3D ticket prices, it pulled in the pittance of only $6.8M this weekend — that’s right all weekend. “It’s about as bad of an animated miss as possible,” one rival studio exec emailed me. It’s rare that any Disney toon flops at all, much less this badly, even though it’s based on the book by author and illustrator Berkeley Breathed, the Pulitzer Prize winner for his comic strip “Bloom County”. But my insiders say this movie is why, after Rich Ross screened it, Disney a year ago shuttered Robert Zemeckis’ Imagemovers Digital, which also produced the blockbuster Disney’s A Christmas Carol. (Of course, Cook’s slate also included that as well as last year’s huge moneymakers Alice In Wonderland and Toy Story 3). It opened in 14 territories overseas, repping 25% of the international market, and made just $2.1M.

Here’s the rest of the Top 10: (more…)

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2011/03/first-box-office-battle-la-strong-1-red-riding-hood-disappointing-3-mars-and-the-moms-big-moneyloser-113414/