Date Night overcomes Titans and Dragons
By John Hamann
April 11, 2010
Heading into the weekend, it looked like a soft frame, as only one film opened (a 2D comedy with TV stars), and it seemed to be surrounded by movies set to fail in holdover weekends. Clash of the Titans may have opened to $61 million last weekend, but expectations were grim for a strong follow up weekend. The same could be said for Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?, and the Miley Cyrus weeper The Last Song. All of a sudden, Date Night, the new film with Steve Carell and Tina Fey, had a chance to win, and the three weekend old How to Train Your Dragon had a chance to move up the chart.
By a nose, 20th Century Fox's Date Night takes the top spot for the weekend, at least according to estimates. Date Night managed a very respectful weekend total of $27.1 million. For the wonderful (and gorgeous) Tina Fey, it is the best opening of her career, as the debut for Date Night gets ahead of the Mean Girls opening of $24.4 million and Baby Mama's $17.4 million. Fey is proving quickly that with the right material, she can open a film.
For Steve Carell, Date Night is not the biggest opener of his career (Get Smart earned $38.7 million over its opening frame), but at least this one doesn't smell bad. Date Night managed a fresh rating of 66%, and will help people forget the disaster that was Evan Almighty (23% fresh at RT, and that's kind). Carell now has a busy summer planned with two films coming up, Dinner for Schmucks with Paul Rudd and Zach Galifanakis, and Despicable Me, an animated film where Carell seems to be playing an animated Dr. Evil. Next up for Tina Fey is Megamind, also an animated production with Brad Pitt. While no budget data is available, an opening like this one for Date Night should make it a commercial success.
Finishing a very close second this weekend is Clash of the Titans, but that's where the good news ends for the Warner Bros. 3D remake. Coming off a weekend that started strong but faded quickly, Clash of the Titans continued to wane, as it earned only $26.9 million, and dropped a nasty 56%. With no new 3D competition for weeks, the opportunity was there for Clash of the Titans to hold long term, much like an Alice in Wonderland or Coraline. However, with a RottenTomatoes rating of only 30%, and seriously soft word-of-mouth (a friend told me the 3D was so bad, some characters had several heads in some scenes), Titans failed to hold at all, and the $125 million film suffers a crushing blow. Clash of the Titans will be far from a disaster, as it should play well internationally, but its hopes of a $200 million domestic finish took a serious blow this weekend. This is a at least partly because a good film, How to Train Your Dragon, ate up 3D screens from the terrible Titans. Currently, Clash of the Titans has earned $110.5 million.