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Weekend Wrap-Up for March 30 - April 1, 2007

Blades and Robinsons On Top; Turtles Shelled

By John Hamann

April 1, 2007

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It was another strong weekend at the box office, as two large openers got off to great starts over the pre-Easter frame. Blades of Glory, the new figure skating comedy starring Will Ferrell, opened strongly as did Meet the Robinsons, Disney's latest CG animated product. On the downside, the fortunes of those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crashed this weekend, as the Warner Bros. movie lost a whopping 62% of its audience from the last frame.

Skating into first place is Blades of Glory from Paramount and MTV Films. The star power of Will Ferrell and Jon Heder was on display this weekend, and the result was an opening weekend gross of $33 million from 3,372 venues. It had a venue average of $9,786. This is an excellent start for any comedy, and is another strong title in what has been a fantastic March for movies. Without the releases of 300 and Wild Hogs this month, Blades of Glory would have been in the top five for biggest March openings. Without Wild Hogs ($39.7 million opening) and February's Norbit ($34.2 million opening), Blades of Glory would have been the biggest start for a comedy since Ferrell's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby ($47 million opening). Overall for Will Ferrell, Blades of Glory is his second biggest debut ever, coming in behind the aforementioned Talladega Nights and ahead of Elf ($31.1 million opening). For Jon Heder, this was an excellent career move. After doing most of the work to get The Benchwarmers to open to $19.7 million, he now has a strong credit with a $30 million plus opening. Heder's connection to the MTV audience from his days of Napoleon Dynamite made this a $33 million debut instead of a $20 million start.




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Reviews for Blades of Glory were better than expected, which may help this comedy in the legs department. At RottenTomatoes, 120 reviewers chimed in and of those, 82 had Blades of Glory reaching the podium, which resulted in a 68% fresh rating. That's right on par with Talladega Nights and Anchorman, which hit fresh ratings of 72% and 64% respectively. For MTV Films, which has had hits recently with Jackass: Number Two ($29 million opening) and The Longest Yard ($47.6 million opening). Blades of Glory should end up being a $100 million film, although Grindhouse and Are We Done Yet? may rob Blades of the demographic it is trying to court next weekend.

Finishing second is Meet the Robinsons, Disney's latest foray into CG animation. Meet the Robinsons earned $25.1 million in its debut weekend, which isn't an exciting number, and not the end of the world either. The animated feature debuted on 3,413 venues, and had an average of $7,343. While no Happy Feet ($41.5 million opening), Meet the Robinsons debuts in the same vicinity as Sony's Open Season ($23.6 million opening), a film that finished with $84 million after running through the treacherous fall box office season. Disney has now had Bridge To Terabithia ($22.6 million opening, $79.7 million domestic so far), Wild Hogs (which I'll get to below) and now Meet the Robinsons over what is usually a painfully slow season. Next up, Walt Disney Pictures will release Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which is probably going to make a couple of bucks.

Meet the Robinsons came out okay in the review department, but I'm sure the studio was looking for better, as this one couldn't get past Blades of Glory in terms of positive reviews. The Robinson's had 83 reviews counted, and of those, 55 were positive, giving the film a 66% fresh rating. That's better than Open Season, but still yards away from the Disney symbol of quality. It will be interesting to see how this one performs in the coming weeks.


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