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Weekend Box Office: Animated “Megamind” Outsmarts R-rated Comedy “Due Date”

Weekend Box Office: Animated "Megamind" Outsmarts R-rated Comedy "Due Date"

Marking a possible record-setting weekend at the box office, animated comedy Megamind lead a robust pack including raunchy comedy Due Date and yet another Tyler Perry hit, For Colored Girls, reports Anthony D’Alessandro. Among indie openers, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours soared in its limited debut.

Paramount’s DreamWorks Animation title Megamind not only outsmarted the competition at the box office with $47.7 million, but rallied a total weekend haul of $154 million for all films. Should that estimate stand tomorrow, it will rep a record first weekend for November, besting the $153.9 million charted in 2003, led by b>Matrix Revolutions. UPDATE: The top 25 films are cuming at $153 million based on estimates, with the overall weekend looking at $157 million.

Megamind spread the B.O. wealth to other wide entries geared to varied demos. Todd Phillips continued his b.o. winning streak, opening yet another mass-audience R-rated comedy, Warner Bros.’ Robert Downey Jr.-Zach Galifianakis headliner Due Date, which clocked a solid $33.5 million–a record for the adult genre in November. Tyler Perry’s all-star femme drama For Colored Women performed in sync with his previous titles with a heart-warming take of $20.1 million.
A $40-million-range bow is the new average for a DreamWorks Animated non-sequel title. Megamind jives with How to Train Your Dragon ($43.7 million) and 2004’s Shark Tale ($47.6 million). On the downside: industry analysts projected a $50 million opening for Megamind, given DreamWorks/Paramount’s marketing blitzkrieg–including Will Ferrell’s appearance in costume at Comic-Con last July (video below) and their tie-in stunt to assemble a record number of costumed superheros in one location. Thus Megamind should have grossed far more on its first weekend, particularly with the 3-D factor, which repped 66% of its gross. Despicable Me, which featured a similar not-so-evil villain-turned-hero, pulled in more during its first weekend ($56.4 million) and DreamWorks scored a higher bow with Kung Fu Panda ($60.2 million), a genre that drew upon older fanboys. More moms viewed Megamind, which skewed 57% female vs. 43% male; 52% of attendees were under 25.

However, DreamWorks Animation keeps a Yogi Berra “It ain’t over, until it’s over” philosophy when it comes to box office. Despite being bashed by the media and Wall Street for the bow of Dragon, DreamWorks had the last laugh as the film’s final stateside cume repped five times its opening weekend. DreamWorks usually hangs in for the long haul, as family audiences often keep coming long after the opening. Even with more holiday competition in the offing, Megamind‘s A- Cinemascore bodes well for word-of-mouth keeping Megamind, which cost between $140 and $170 million, alive through New Year’s.

Critics noted the obvious similarities between Megamind and Despicable Me: the DreamWorks titles scored 67% on the Tomatometer while the Universal toon entry reaped a boffo 82%.

Pricey for a comedy at $65-million, Due Date showed a Teflon resistance to critical reaction (39% rotten), due to its in-the-zone stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. Comedies use to be also-rans on Downey Jr.’s resume during the ‘80s and ‘90s (think Soap Dish at $36.5, The Pick-Up Artist at $13.3 million). Not only is Due Date his largest first frame for the genre, beating the $25.8 million racked up by Tropic Thunder, but more importantly, Downey continues to show he’s a sellable commodity outside franchise fare.

As for Galifianakis, Due Date functions as a sequel to The Hangover; he and Phillips are a powerful new comedy team not unlike Ferrell and Adam McKay. At a recent award ceremony, Phillips praised Galifianakis: “Every director imagines his muse looking like someone like Mila Kunis. I never imagined mine would look like Bruce Vilanch.”

Phillips knows how to showcase the coffee-house comedian’s alternative humor. Due Date‘s trailers, attached to Inception this summer, displayed Galifianakis’ offbeat, loveable Hangover persona, as did the poster campaign showing Galifianakis annoying Downey. Also, Galifianakis isn’t a dummy when it comes to generating impressions around a film’s opening: The media savored his stance on Mel Gibson’s attachment to Hangover 2 and the comedian’s pot-toking antics on Real Time With Bill Maher in support of Prop 19. Males (53%) scheduled time with Due Date; the comedy received an A- Cinemascore with attendees under 18 and a B- overall.

Tyler Perry can always be counted on to counter-program. Despite critics’ blasts of (33% rotten on the Tomatometer) Tyler’s adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s Obie Award-winning play, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” the director successfully pulled his key female African American audience. Critics such as Roger Ebert and USA Today’s Claudia Puig griped that the play’s monologues clash with Perry’s storytelling. However, that didn’t faze audiences, who awarded the film an 82% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Lionsgate still plans to position the film for award season in key acting slots. The studio marketing campaign ran with artsy posters, ranging from a retro ‘70s movie poster to a series of one-sheets/billboards featuring actresses Thandie Newton and Whoopi Goldberg in dramatic poses.

The top 10 films are as follows:

1. Megamind (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $47.7 million in its first weekend at 3,944 theaters. $12,082 theater average. Domestic total: $47.7 million.

2. Due Date (Warner Bros.): $33.5 million in its first weekend at 3,355 theaters. $9,985 theater average. Domestic total: $33.5 million.

3. For Colored Girls (Lionsgate): $20.1 million in its first weekend at 2,127 theaters. $9,450 theater average. Domestic total: $20.1 million.

4. Red (Summit): $8.9 million down 17% in its fourth weekend at 3,229 theaters. $2,743 theater average. Domestic total: $71.9 million.

5. Saw 3D (Lionsgate): $8.2 million down 66% in its second weekend at 2,808 theaters. $2,920 theater average. Domestic total: $38.8 million.

6. Paranormal Activity 2 (Paramount): $7.3 million down 56% in its third weekend at 3,168 theaters. $2,304 theater average. Domestic total: $77.2 million.

7. Jackass 3D (Paramount): $5.1 million down 40% in its fourth weekend at 2,165 theaters. $2,354 theater average. Domestic total: $110.8 million.

8. Hereafter (Warner Bros.):$4.02 million down 37% in its fourth weekend at 2,365 theaters. $1,700 theater average. Domestic total: $28.7 million.

9. Secretariat (Disney):$4 million down 20% in its fifth weekend at 2,614 theaters. $1,531 theater average. Domestic total: $51 million.

10. The Social Network (Sony): $3.6 million down 20% in its sixth weekend at 1,860 theaters. $1,935 theater average. Domestic total: $85 million.

Will Ferrell at Megamind panel at Comic-Con:

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