It wasn't a great opening by any stretch, but Ice Age: Continental Drift did at least prove that there's still life left in this lucrative prehistoric animated franchise.
The fourth installment in the Ice Age series debuted to $46.6 million this weekend. That's noticeably off from 2012's previous animated efforts The Lorax ($70.2 million), Brave ($66.3 million) and Madagascar 3 ($60.3 million). It is at least on par with the first Ice Age ($46.3 million), though it's much lower than 2006's Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68 million).
The most recent franchise title, 2009's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, opened on a Wednesday and therefore doesn't provide a great apples-to-apples comparison: Continental Drift topped its three-day start ($42.2 million) and its opening weekend ($41.7 million), though it has zero chance of matching that movie's $66.7 million five-day start. Still, to be in the same league as the third installment is pretty impressive. For comparison, Shrek Forever After's debut was 42 percent lower than that of Shrek the Third.
Aside from pointing out new cast members like Jennifer Lopez, Drake and Nicki Minaj, Continental Drift's marketing campaign never really tried all that hard to differentiate Continental Drift from its predecessors (there were no circus afros, that's for sure). As of late, that's been a death knell for animated sequels, so the fact that Continental Drift was able to stay in the same general ballpark as previous installments speaks to the overwhelming likeability of the central characters, in particular Scrat (who once again was prominently featured in the marketing material). Ice Age's audience skewed slightly female (51 percent), and was evenly split between those above and below 25 years-of-age. The crowd awarded the movie an "A-" CinemaScore ("A" for the under-18 crowd), and with no competition for family audiences on the immediate horizon Continental Drift could have a healthy run.
One noticeable blemish on Ice Age's debut is its 3D haul. Despite 2,731 locations playing the movie in 3D, ticket sales for those shows only accounted for around 35 percent of the gross. Combine that with Spider-Man's sub-par 45 percent 3D share, and one has to wonder what's up with 3D lately.
In its second weekend, The Amazing Spider-Man fell 44 percent to $34.6 million. That's a fine hold for a comic book movie, and suggests that it's being greeted with good word-of-mouth. However, that second weekend tally is substantially less than that of any of the previous Spider-Man movies. On Sunday, The Amazing Spider-Man passed $200 million. Ted had a very strong hold this weekend, easing just 30 percent to $22.4 million. The movie has now earned $159.3 million, and through 17 days it's still tracking slightly ahead of the first Hangover.
Surprisingly, Brave wasn't all that phased by Ice Age's entry in to the marketplace: the Disney/Pixar blockbuster dropped 43 percent to an estimated $11.2 million. So far, the movie has grossed $196.1 million, and by Thursday at the latest it will become Pixar's 10th movie to pass $200 million.
In its second outing, Savages fell 41 percent to $9.4 million. That's a very good hold for a movie that's been getting some terrible reactions from audiences, and indicates that the counterprogramming strategy is paying off a bit. Still, the movie has only earned $32.1 million through 10 days, and it will be lucky to get past $50 million before the end of its run.
Magic Mike took sixth place with $9 million, which is a 42 percent decrease from last weekend. The Channing Tatum male stripper movie has now amassed $91.8 million. Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.