Everyone won during a crowded Easter weekend, as three major new releases faced off against several strong holdovers for a whopping $177 million total. As expected by all, Clash of the Titans opened relatively large, with $61.2 million over the Fri-Sun period. Including Thursday-night sneak showings, the Warner Bros. remake has grossed $63.8 million. It shattered the old Easter record (Scary Movie 4's $42 million debut) by about $20 million and came within $10 million of breaking the April opening weekend record (last year's Fast & Furious with $71 million). The picture benefited from terrific trailers, an impressively dynamic poster gallery, and its last-minute conversion to 3D for about 1,800 of its 3,770 theaters. Most of the critics came out of last week's press screenings complaining about the low quality of said 3D effects, but the film did 52% of its business in the 28% of the screens that were in higher-priced 3D. Let's be honest, this film would have been pretty huge no matter what format it was offered in. It looked exciting and was fantastically marketed from all corners. Appealing mainstream film + great trailers + cool posters = big opening nearly every time.
Great news right? Well, as is often the case with these very expensive films opening to big but not astronomical numbers, it all depends about how well it holds up. The film cost $125 million, so a somewhat decent hold as well as strong international business (it pulled in $44 million this weekend overseas) is needed to actually make this a profitable venture. At a glance, the long-term prospects do not look anymore than 'OK'. The picture opened with $26 million on Friday, which gives the film a relatively weak 2.3x multiplier. Of course, Sunday was Easter weekend, so we won't know until next weekend whether word of mouth was as scornful as the reviews. Take away the 3D bump in ticket prices, and this film had a pretty identical opening to Watchmen ($55 million last year). To be fair, the current film will likely play better overseas and the PG-13, 106-minute action spectacle is certainly more apt for casual viewing after opening weekend than a 2.75-hour R-rated comic book deconstruction, so a similar decline is not necessarily in the cards. It would seem that Warner Bros. rushed to cheaply and quickly apply 3D effects to a film that they were not all that confident in (it's not a very good movie), which may come back to bite them for future conversions. As often the case with big movies such as this, the tale will be told next weekend. If the movie were better and/or cheaper, and if so many weren't complaining about the 3D work, I'd be more optimistic about the future beyond simply breaking even.
For more box office news, including the debut of Tyler Perry's record-breaker, the return of Miley Cryus, and the solid hold for last weekend's terrific animated fable, check out the rest of this article at Mendelson's Memos.