Titans Slay April Records
By John Hamann
April 4, 2010
So how many 3D films is too many? This Easter weekend had three big 3D titles in the top ten, including the new release Clash of the Titans, DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon, and Disney's Alice in Wonderland. With only so many 3D screens, and with three blockbusters chasing them, would two of these films fail badly this weekend? How to Train Your Dragon already disappointed last weekend with a $43.7 million opening from 4,055 venues. Would Clash of the Titans suffer the same fate? And with Disney's Alice already over the $300 million domestic plateau, would it completely cave this weekend after dropping 48% last weekend?
Last year's version of Fast & Furious showed us that early April can deliver at the box office, as that franchise's return brought in an amazing $71 million over three days a year ago. However, the first weekend in April last year was not Easter weekend, a holiday that is notorious for not being a huge holiday weekend at the box office. Easter's biggest film had been Scary Movie 4, which debuted to $40.2 million on April 14, 2006, with second spot on the Easter chart going to Hannah Montana The Movie, which opened last year to $32.3 million. Historically, only six releases over the years have topped $20 million, but there was a good chance that three more would join the $20 million Easter club, as the blockbuster Clash of the Titans opened this weekend, along with a Tyler Perry sequel in Why Did I Get Married Too, and Miley Cyrus in The Last Song, which opened Wednesday to a not bad $5 million. The lineup this weekend is stronger than any Easter weekend we've seen, and the early April date of the religious holiday gives the box office an opportunity to break out in a very big way.
Our number one film of the weekend is the remake of Clash of the Titans, a film whose original opened on June 12, 1981, an important day in movie history, as Raiders of the Lost Ark also opened on that very day, making the original Clash of the Titans a cult hit at best. This time around, the competition isn't as foreboding, and its fellow openers aren't in 3D. With an audience that seems starved (for some reason) to relive their youth through movies, and huge demand these days for anything 3D, Clash of the Titans opened huge. It earned an amazing $64.1 million from 3,777 venues, including Thursday night sneaks. The Warner Bros. flick had a venue average of $16,256. It blew away the Easter record by over $20 million, and came close to being biggest April opener of all time, though the actual holiday Sunday deflation kept it from beating Fast & Furious. With another huge film opening over the first weekend in April, expect studios to highlight the date on the calendar, and to continually issue films with big expectations around the same time.
Clash of the Titans opened on Friday to $26.8 million, and earned about $4 million from Thursday night showings. Unfortunately, we don't have a breakdown of how it did 2D vs 3D, but we do know that Titans got approximately 1,800 3D screens, or about half of its entire run. Those increased ticket prices for 3D screenings would have helped Titans, but with an opening weekend gross this big, 3D did not carry this title on its own. Did it help that Sam Worthington, who helped Avatar earn over $700 million, showed up in this one as well? And why was it so much bigger than last weekend's How To Train Your Dragon? BOP's David Mumpower believes that traditional filmmaking draws 3D audiences more than animated films, and the Clash of the Titans opening is just another bolt in his quiver. Titans was originally slated as a 2D feature, but after Warner Bros. saw what Fox was earning with Avatar, it added 3D elements after the film was completed.