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Megamind, Due Date, For Colored Girls All Open Well: Weekend Box Office

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There weren't a lot of surprises at the box office this weekend. Megamind opened right in line with most Dreamworks animated originals, with $46 million. The standard for non-sequels in the Dreamworks cartoon library is $43-47 million. Opening just below A Shark Tale ($47.6 million) and Madagascar ($47.2 million), the supervillain epic has the fifth biggest opening for a non-sequel in the Dreamworks animation catalogue, also behind Monsters Vs. Aliens ($59.3 million) and Kung Fu Panda ($60.2 million). It was their ninth-biggest animated opening overall. More impressive was the 3.68x weekend multiplier, which is one of their biggest weekend multiplier in recent memory.

The film didn't open anywhere near the $56 million debut of Despicable Me, but Universal used the yellow minions to sell the film to the kids, while using the whole 'root for a super-villain' angle for the grownups. Megamind didn't really have a kid-friendly angle, so it was up to the parents to drag their kids along. The film played 57% female and 52% over 25 and scored an A- from Cinemascore. 66% of the tickets were sold for the 3D version (7% in IMAX 3D), which says something as it was the first major 3D release in a long time where 2D options were plentiful. Point being, if you give audiences, especially large families with young children, a 2D option, they will take it. I can say that the film looks just fine in 2D, and Paramount bought just a little bit of goodwill for not making me have to track down a 2D theater not-so near me in order to take the family on opening night.

Where it goes from here is an open question. Thanks to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I forgoing 3D conversion, Megamind will keep those 3D screens for at least an extra half-week (Tangled and The Nutcracker both open in 3D on the 24th). Still, Harry Potter 7 will still get the IMAX screens, and the film will be a brutal bit of direct-demo competition. Legs like How to Train Your Dragon ($43m opening/$217m finish = a stunning 5x weekend-to-final multplier) are unlikely, as the former film had no real kids competition (nor competition for IMAX and 3D screens) for a good two months, and the film was a more traditionally crowd-pleasing, heartwarming tale than the more aloof superhero/super-villain deconstruction comedy (that's not a knock, Megamind is yet another dynamite cartoon for 2010). Aside from flukes like Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon, the usual Dreamworks animation weekend-to-final multiplier is about 3.5x. That sounds about right this time around, which will find Megamind with around $160 million.
Due Date with solid business for an R-rated comedy, with a $32.6 million debut weekend. It was actually the seventh-biggest opening weekend for an R-rated comedy, behind Sex and the City ($57 million), Jackass 3D ($50 million), American Pie 2 ($45 million), Scary Movie ($42 million), The Hangover ($45 million), and The Wedding Crashers ($33 million). This was purely a star sell, as Warner Bros sold leads Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis and director Todd Phillips. The trailer certainly didn't make the movie look like a laugh riot, and the premise was warmed-over Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, so anyone who went went for the star-director combo. It's the only R-rated comedy in town for awhile, so even if word of mouth proves middling, it should still clear $100 million with the help of the Thanksgiving holiday.

For Colored Girls (trailer) opened at the lower end of the Tyler Perry spectrum, which was pretty decent regardless. The all-star ensemble adaptation scored $19.4 million, or just about its $21 million budget, which is the third-lowest debut for Mr. Perry. For Colored Girls opened better than Daddy's Little Girls ($11 million) and The Family That Preys ($17 million). Basically it opened like a normal non-Madea Tyler Perry film despite being R-rated, 133 minutes long, and rather visually explicit about the kind of subject matter that Tyler Perry characters usually just talk about in past tense. It's not a home run, but it's still going to be a very profitable movie, even if it has a normal-for-Perry 2.2x-ish weekend-to-final multiplier. It's chances of being an Oscar contender are pretty remote at this point, thanks to the pointlessly harsh reviews (whatever your issues with Perry, it's a good, compelling, very-well acted piece of performance art). The best case scenario is that a few of the underemployed actresses featured (Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise, etc) get noticed and have more opportunities as a result.

For more box office news, including holdover updates and which film scored one of the biggest per-screen averages in history, read the rest of this article at Mendelson's Memos.