Friday Report: 'Dragon' Is No 'Monster'
On Friday, How to Train Your Dragon landed on top with an estimated $12.2 million on approximately 7,000 screens at 4,055 theaters, which was the highest-grossing opening day ever for a dragon-centric movie (surpassing Eragon).

The heavily-promoted 3D computer-animated spectacle also had a bigger first day gross than Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Bolt and Meet the Robinsons among other 3D cartoons but fell short of Monsters Vs. Aliens. The latter debuted to $16.8 million on the comparable Friday last year, leading to a $59.3 million weekend. Should Dragon follow a similar pattern, its weekend would wind up at around $43 million.

How to Train Your Dragon had 2,178 sites presenting the picture in 3D, which carried a hefty price hike in many markets starting Friday. 3D accounted for 68 percent of the Friday gross. By comparison, Monsters Vs. Aliens had 1,550 of its 4,104 venues in 3D and they made up 55 percent of its opening.

Hot Tub Time Machine opened to an estimated $4.9 million on around 3,000 screens at 2,754 venues, which was lukewarm relative to other recent ribald comedies like Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and Role Models but more than the entire run of distributor MGM's last stab at the genre, College.

Losing over a third of its 3D sites with the arrival of How to Train Your Dragon, Alice in Wonderland had a steeper Friday-to-Friday drop than last week, down 52 percent versus 43 percent. It racked up an estimated $4.7 million and lifted its total to $280.5 million in 22 days. Avatar took an even greater hit: its 49 percent decline was its biggest yet, but it has been out for 99 days with a record-breaking $738.9 million total.

Non-3D Diary of a Wimpy Kid's fall was more precipitous than Alice in Wonderland or Avatar. The kids comedy was off 61 percent to an estimated $2.9 million for a $28.7 million total in eight days. The Bounty Hunter pulled ahead of it, down 46 percent to an estimated $4.1 million for a $30.5 million tally in eight days. The other second weekend picture, Repo Men, dove 59 percent to nearly $900,000, totaling just $9.2 million.

In limited release, Chloe debuted to a fairly soft estimated $270,000 at 319 sites, while Greenberg fared a bit better, grossing an estimated $290,000 in its expansion to 181 sites, but was still modest.

Related Story

Weekend Preview: 'How to Train Your Dragon,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine'

Related Chart

• Grosses for Friday, Mar. 26