The Croods easily took the top spot on a busy weekend at the box office, though the real surprise was the impressive performance of Olympus Has Fallen. Meanwhile, Spring Breakers did decent business in its nationwide expansion, though it still fell behind Tina Fey-Paul Rudd disappointment Admission.
The Top 12 earned an estimated $131.9 million, which is unfortunately off 35 percent from last year when The Hunger Games alone made over $152 million.
The Croods grossed an estimated $44.7 million from 4,046 locations. Among recent original DreamWorks Animation movies, it's about even with 2010's How to Train Your Dragon ($43.7 million) and Megamind ($46 million), and a vast improvement over November's Rise of the Guardians (which took 11 days to get to $44 million).
This is without a doubt a good start for The Croods, though it was hard to imagine it going much lower. The movie had a competent marketing effort, and benefited from the fact that the only other 2013 animated movie so far was February's modest Escape From Planet Earth. With an "A" CinemaScore and no serious competition until May, The Croods is in a very good position, though it would be shocking if it came close to matching How to Train Your Dragon's $217.6 million.
The audience was 57 percent female, and surprisingly skewed older (55 percent were 25 years of age and up). 3D ticket sales only accounted for 38 percent of the gross, which is an incredibly low number for the format.
In second place, Olympus Has Fallen exceeded even the most generous expectations with an impressive $30.5 million debut. That's the top action movie opening so far in 2013 ahead of A Good Day to Die Hard ($24.8 million); it's also more than the combined debuts of Parker, The Last Stand, Dead Man Down and Bullet to the Head. Finally, Olympus Has Fallen is now director Antoine Fuqua's highest opener ahead of Training Day ($22.6 million), a past hit that was a major selling point in the marketing.
Confident that they had a potential hit on their hands, distributor FilmDistrict went all-in with a strong, aggressive marketing effort. It conveyed the movie's exciting premise (terrorists take over the White House), and highlighted the presence of well-liked actor Morgan Freeman. It also had Gerard Butler back in butt-kicking mode, which is clearly how audiences prefer their Butler.
Olympus Has Fallen is the first White House invasion movie of 2013, but it's not the last: Sony currently has White House Down on the schedule for the end of June. With director Roland Emmerich and stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, that movie has a solid blockbuster pedigree, and in the past movie's with similar concepts have both performed well in the same year (Deep Impact and Armageddon is a classic example).
Olympus Has Fallen's audience skewed older (73 percent above 25) and male (53 percent), though its impressive performance is likely due to some extent on the fact that it managed to appeal to women. It received a very good "A-" CinemaScore, though it remains to be seen if it can hold up against G.I. Joe: Retaliation next weekend.
After holding the top spot for the past two weeks, Oz The Great and Powerful slipped to third place with an estimated $22 million (off 47 percent). Through 17 days, the movie has earned a strong $177.6 million, though it remains on pace to close with over $100 million less than Alice in Wonderland.
The Call fell 49 percent to an estimated $8.7 million. Through its second weekend, the Halle Berry thriller has grossed $30.9 million.
Admission rounded out the Top Five with an awful $6.45 million from 2,160 locations. That's the worst live-action start for Tina Fey, and also worse than recent Paul Rudd disappointments Our Idiot Brother ($7 million) and Wanderlust ($6.53 million).
The marketing for Admission focused entirely on Fey and Rudd, with some commercials going as far as having the actors directly pitch the movie to audiences. While both actors are likeable, focusing on them took away from selling the story, which is what really gets people to head to the theaters. The audience that did turn out was overwhelmingly female (68 percent), older (a whopping 47 percent were at least 50 years old) and Caucasian (81 percent). They awarded the movie an unimpressive "B-" CinemaScore, which suggests the movie won't last very long in theaters.
After a great start in three theaters last weekend, Spring Breakers expanded to 1,104 theaters and earned an estimated $5 million. That's a good figure for upstart distributor A24, who utilized word-of-mouth while avoiding traditional (read: expensive) marketing techniques. Still, the movie dropped from Friday to Saturday, which suggests that it's going to be fairly front-loaded, and it would be surprising if it ultimately made it above the mid-teen-millions.
In seventh place, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone plummeted 58 percent to an estimated $4.28 million. The Steve Carell-Jim Carrey magician comedy has made an atrocious $17.4 million so far, and will likely vanish from theaters in the next week or two.