'Megamind' Tops Weekend Box Office With $30.1 Million

Fox's runaway-train thriller Unstoppable did blow past two rival wide openers, as the Denzel Washington starrer booked an estimated $23.5 million in domestic fares during the weekend. But 3D animated comedy Megamind repeated at No. 1, using a modest 35% decline in its second frame to conjure a $30.1 million session and $89.8 million in cumulative box office.

High-grossing Imax 3D screens contributed $1.8 million of Megamind's latest haul. Though it will lose those screens to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 on Friday, the PG-rated pic looks likely to mount a leggy run of the typical family-hit variety.

"It's terrific to be so decidedly No. 1 in the second weekend," DWA marketing maven Anne Globe said.

Non-family moviegoers have padded Megamind support to date. But Globe said she expects "continued strength and playability to the family audience" will become increasingly evident through the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Megamind's terrific marketplace hold following a more ho-hum bow is reminiscent of the spring theatrical run of DWA's How to Train Your Dragon. The 3D animated adventure's $43.7 million debut initially prompted Wall Street analysts to worry that the publicly traded animation studio had a theatrical disappointment on its hands until Dragon went to fetch a heaping $217.6 million in U.S. and Canadian coin.

"We're seeing a similar play pattern with our movies, where the second weekend is becoming as important as our first" Globe said.

Two-thirds of the box office to date for Megamind has been registered in its 3D venues, with 65% of locations offering the movie in 3D on at least one screen.

Rated PG-13, Unstoppable drew opening audiences evenly divided between males and females, with 65% of patrons aged 25 or older.

"It's an all-audience movie," Fox senior vp distribution Bert Livingston said. "Word of mouth will be great, so it should play a long time."

Unstoppable was directed by Tony Scott and cost an estimated $85 million to produce, including tax-based credits from Pennsylvania, where the film was shot. Its debut follows a June 2009 pairing of Scott and Washington in the subway-hijacking actioner The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which opened with $23.4 million but faded quickly and collected just $65.5 million domestically.

Elsewhere among the new pics, Rogue's Universal-distributed scifi thriller Skyline debuted with a less-than-celestial $11.7 million in fourth place, while Paramount's ensemble dramedy Morning Glory arose in fifth with a $9.6 million weekend and $12.2 million since its Wednesday bow. Warner Bros.' comedy Due Datedipped 52% in its sophomore session to post $15.5 million in third place with a $59 million cume, and Lionsgate dramedy For Colored Girls fell a big 65% to $6.8 million in sixth with a 10-day cume of $30.9 million.

Co-directed by brothers Colin and Greg Strause, Skyline drew audiences skewing 62% male, with 58% of support from moviegoers aged 25 or older. Rogue said the PG-13 picture cost just $10 million to produce.

Skyline represents the final film to be distributed under a pact with Universal, which sold the genre label to Relativity Media last year. Relativity -- which this year took over distribution operations of the former Overture Films -- begins distributing its own films with The Warrior's Way on Dec. 3.

"The film opened as expected, and due to the cost-effectiveness of its production we're happy with the weekend's results," Relativity marketing and distribution president Peter Adee said.

Morning Glory cast includes Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum. The PG-13 picture drew opening audiences comprised 72% of females, with 89% of patrons aged 25 or older. That could lead to a leggy run, as older-targeted movies can tend to start slow but hold up well in subsequent sessions.

"People feel very positively about the movie," Paramount exec vp distribution Don Harris said.

Morning Glory cost an estimated $38 million to produce. "It's really a question of whether the word of mouth will carry it to a good movie. I happen to think it will. The movie has a lot of heart and should hang around a long time."

Hollywood's holiday season's kicks off next weekend with one of the fourth quarter's biggest openings -- Warners' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Lionsgate's Russell Crowe starrer The Next Three Daysalso unspools wide on Friday.

Meantime, the fall box office season went out quietly. The top 10 films in the latest frame collected $110.4 million, or 12% less than top performers in the final session of all 2009.

The home stretch to the box-office year also will feature a number of limited-release "prestige pictures" vying for promotional bang from the year-end awards season.

In the latest session, Fox Searchlight's mounting-climbing drama 127 Hours added 18 theaters for a total 22 and grossed $453,104, or a rousing $20,596 per venue with cume of $826,093.

Summit Entertainment's political drama Fair Game added 129 locations for a total 175 to fetch $1.1 million, for a solid $6,166 per site and a $2 million cume.

Peter Oberth
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