>> 'Megamind' Nabs $47.7 Mil & No. 1 Spot at Weekend Box Office

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

The 3D animated comedy Megamind from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount eased executives' minds on both lots with an estimated $47.7 million weekend opening that comfortably topped the domestic box office.

Overall, the session's $154 million estimated take made for the best first November weekend in history, besting the $153 million tally registered in the first frame of November 2003.

Warner Bros.' Todd Phillips-helmed Due Date  -- starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis -- contributed mightily with $33.5 million for the biggest November bow ever by an R-rated comedy. And Lionsgate's Tyler Perry-directed dramedy For Colored Girls  debuted with $20.1 million in third.

With Megamind, DWA now will aim for a leggy theatrical run of the sort displayed by its previous non-summer release -- How to Train Your Dragon, which rung up $218 million after opening in March with $43.7 million. Distributed in a mix of 2D and 3D locations, Megamind nabbed a nifty 66% of opening coin from 3D auditoriums, and the 3D venues could prove key in sustaining momentum.

The solid start also gives distributor Paramount -- which gets an 8% cut of box office for its labors -- another notch in the win column before next year's possible talks with DWA about an extension of their partnership. Paramount's deal to distribute DWA pics expires after 2012, but terms allow a year-earlier exit. And though DWA has been pleased with the arrangement, a new agreement is hardly assured.

The animation studio's most recent release was the summer tentpole Shrek Forever After, which rung up $238.4 million domestically after bowing in May.

Produced for roughly $140 million, Megamind was directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar) with a voice cast including Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. The PG-rated pic attracted opening audiences comprised 57% of females, with 52% of patrons under age 25.

Some $3.2 million of the pic's opening coin came from 195 high-grossing Imax 3D venues. Megamind will shed those auditoriums after one more weekend as Imax intends to program the venues with Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 starting Nov. 19.

But DWA execs predict Megamind will use thousands of remaining 3D locations and increasing family moviegoing during the Thanksgiving period to sustain market traction for weeks to come.

"We feel that we're poised for the holiday season," DWA marketing maven Anne Globe said.

Opening audiences for Due Date skewed 53% male, with 69% of patrons aged 25 or older and 59% of support coming from moviegoers under age 35. Produced for at least $65 million and co-financed 50% by Legendary Pictures, Due Date also features Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx.

"It was a huge weekend in general, and Due Date did fabulously," Warners exec vp distribution Jeff Goldstein enthused.

The R-rated Colored Girls drew opening audiences were comprised 82% of females, with patrons age 25 or older providing 87% of support and African-American moviegoers 81%.

"It was primarily Tyler Perry's fans and fans of the cast and of the property itself," Lionsgate distribution boss David Spitz said.

Produced for an estimated $20 million, Colored Girls boasts a large ensemble cast including Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Janet Jackson, Loretta Divine and Kerry Washington.

Lionsgate's slasher pic Saw 3D dropped a big 66% from its chart-topping tally a week earlier to register $8.2 million in fifth place in its sophomore session. That brought cumulative box office for the seventh and allegedly final Saw chapter to $38.8 million.

Among the weekend's limited openings, Fox Searchlight unspooled Danny Boyle's mountain-climbing survival drama 127 Hours, starring James Franco, in a pair of New York theaters and two in L.A. and fetched $265,125. That represented a mind-bending $66,481 per venue amid broad reports of sold-out performances.

"At the Lincoln Square theater in New York, they sold out the 10:30 a.m. show on Saturday," Searchlight senior vp distribution Sheila DeLoach noted. "So it was pretty amazing. You don't get much better than that."

Despite its auspicious start, 127 Hours will expand slowly and delay hitting wide release until Dec. 3. So though its bow was promising, an initial expansion to 21 theaters next weekend will bear watching.

Searchlight's Hilary Swank starrer Conviction creeped into wide release during the weekend with 672 engagements -- 107 more than a week earlier -- to collect $1.6 million. That was a soft $2,314 per site and raised the legal drama's cume to $4.7 million.

Summit Entertainment and E1 Films debuted the facts-based political drama Fair Game-- starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn -- in 45 locations and registered $700,000, or an encouraging $15,217 per site.

Looking to Friday, three new movies open wide: Fox's Denzel Washington starrer Unstoppable, Paramount's ensemble dramedy Morning Glory and Universal's sci-fi thriller Skyline.


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