â€œHow to Train Your Dragonâ€ continues to breathe fire at the box office, while newer releases are mostly blowing smoke.
The DreamWorks Animation adventure took in $15 million to reclaim the No. 1 spot in its fifth weekend of release. â€œHow to Train Your Dragonâ€ opened in first place in late March, then dropped back into the pack. But it has held up strongly and climbed to the top again amid a flurry of so-so new releases.
The tale of a Viking youth and his pet dragon raised its total to $178 million and is on its way to becoming a $200 million hit.
Premiering weakly at No. 2 with $12.3 million was Jennifer Lopez’s romantic comedy â€œThe Back-up Plan,â€ released by CBS Films. Another comedy, Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s â€œDate Nightâ€ from 20th Century Fox, held up well to finish at No. 3 with $10.6 million, raising its total to $63.5 million.
Among the weekend’s other newcomers, the Warner Bros. action flick â€œThe Losersâ€ flopped at No. 4 with $9.6 million. Disney’s nature film â€œOceansâ€ had a solid opening for a documentary, coming in at No. 8 with $6 million.
â€œHow to Train Your Dragonâ€ nearly regained the No. 1 spot the previous weekend but wound up a close second to Lionsgate’s superhero comedy â€œKick-Ass.â€ In its second weekend, â€œKick-Assâ€ slumped to No. 5 with $9.5 million, down 52 percent from its debut, lifting its total to $34.9 million.
Revenues for â€œHow to Train Your Dragonâ€ were off a scant 23 percent from the previous weekend.
â€œTo be No. 1 in week five, it’s an exciting time,â€ said Anne Globe, head of marketing for DreamWorks Animation. â€œEspecially to be decisively No. 1 after last weekend’s box-office shenanigans.â€
The box office had ended in rare photo finishes for two straight weekends as movies bunched up tightly in the rankings. Though â€œHow to Train Your Dragonâ€ was the clear winner this time, top movies again were crowded closely together as the weekend’s newcomers failed to grab much attention.
Overall Hollywood revenues should top out at about $100 million, the lowest-grossing weekend of the year, said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.
Fans may simply be watching their finances amid the slow economic recovery, saving their money for the onslaught of summer blockbusters that starts May 7 with â€œIron Man 2.â€
â€œThey may be saying, ‘I want to see big summer movies, so I’m just going to wait,’â€ Dergarabedian said. â€œThen suddenly, we’re going to have this massive weekend when ‘Iron Man 2’ opens after we’ve had these mediocre weekends.â€
While â€œThe Back-up Planâ€ opened weakly, CBS Films was hoping it would holdup well in subsequent weekends, as romantic comedies often do.
â€œJennifer Lopez’s films have great legs, as does she,â€ said Steven Friedlander, head of distribution for CBS Films.
â€œThe Back-up Planâ€ stars Lopez as a single woman who gets pregnant through artificial insemination, then meets the man of her dreams.
â€œThe Losers,â€ whose cast includes â€œAvatarâ€ co-star Zoe Saldana, is a comic-book adaptation about a Special Forces team looking for payback after a mission goes bad.
Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, â€œOceansâ€ offers up-close glimpses of blue whales, walruses, sea turtles, spider crabs and other aquatic life. Since opening on Earth Day Thursday, â€œOceansâ€ has taken in $8.5 million.
â€œOceansâ€ played in narrower release than other new movies, averaging $4,975 in 1,206 theaters, a fair result for a documentary. By comparison, â€œThe Back-up Planâ€ averaged $3,735 in 3,280 theaters and â€œThe Losersâ€ averaged $3,271 in 2,936 cinemas.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. â€œHow to Train Your Dragon,â€ $15 million.
2. â€œThe Back-up Plan,â€ $12.3 million.
3. â€œDate Night,â€ $10.6 million.
4. â€œThe Losers,â€ $9.6 million.
5. â€œKick-Ass,â€ $9.5 million.
6. â€œClash of the Titans,â€ $9 million.
7. â€œDeath at a Funeral,â€ $8 million.
8. â€œOceans,â€ $6 million.
9. â€œThe Last Song,â€ $3.7 million.
10. â€œAlice in Wonderland,â€ $2.2 million.