Seven-Day Summary: 'Battle' Can't Save Box Office From 'Red,' 'Mars'
by Ray Subers
Battle: Los Angeles
March 18, 2011
Battle: Los Angeles easily finished atop the box office this week, though its opening didn't exceed genre norms. Fellow new releases Red Riding Hood and Mars Needs Moms failed to generate much interest, with Mars in particular getting off to a terrible start. Thanks to decent holds from Rango and The Adjustment Bureau, though, overall box office was only off 11 percent from the same week last year, when Alice in Wonderland led for the second week in a row with a whopping $84.6 million.
While Battle: Los Angeles's $46 million opening topped Rango and The Green Hornet for best seven-day start of 2011, the movie has yet to become the major hit that many were anticipating. Among similar movies, its gross was lower than that of District 9 and Cloverfield, and its attendance was off from Starship Troopers and only a bit ahead of The Day the Earth Stood Still. With its overwhelmingly male audience and mixed word-of-mouth, expect a precipitous decline for Battle: Los Angeles.
After taking the top spot last week, Rango eased 31 percent to $31.7 million. The movie was actually up 20 percent during the Monday to Thursday time period thanks to many kids being out of school on Spring Break. With Battle: Los Angeles fading throughout the week, Rango even took first place on Thursday by a slim margin. The Johnny Depp-Gore Verbinski animated Western has $77.3 million in the tank so far, but still has a long way to go to be considered a success for Paramount Pictures, a studio that's used to distributing DreamWorks Animation movies that on average finish north of $150 million.
Red Riding Hood finished its first week with $18.7 million, which was obviously a far cry from thematic predecessors Twilight and Alice and Wonderland. Following Jennifer's Body, Red Riding Hood marks the second-straight horror disappointment for Amanda Seyfried, who has been primarily successful in romances like Dear John and Letters to Juliet. It wasn't all bad news for the movie, though: in the generally underperforming werewolf genre, Red Riding Hood's start was about average.
The Adjustment Bureau dropped 41 percent to $15.9 million to bring its two-week total to $42.8 million. In the process, it became the first Matt Damon headliner to top $40 million since The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007.
In what has all the makings of a legendary debacle, Disney's mega-budget animated movie Mars Needs Moms opened to just $10.1 million this week. While that was slightly ahead of 2009's Astro Boy, it was behind 2008's Space Chimps. Had it not turned out solid mid-week attendance due to Spring Break, the situation would look even worse. It's possible that Mars Needs Moms finds a steady audience over the next few weeks, but it's not going to shake its status as a monumental failure.
Much further down the chart, Jane Eyre opened to $253,105 at just four locations for an outstanding per-theater average of $63,276. The Mia Wasikowska-Michael Fassbender drama is set to expand to 26 theaters this weekend.