Happy Easter, everybody! Just you look at all the goodies I’ve got in my basket.
Scary Movie 4 enjoyed an opening weekend as sweet as Cadbury Creme, earning $41 million, according to Sunday’s estimates. Said opening number is in line with the $42 mil made by SM1 in 2000 and the $48 mil made by SM3 in 2003, and the wascally Weinsteins — who just scored the first bona fide blockbuster for their new studio — are already said to be promising SM5. Man, those guys are smart. Anyway, my good buddy John at box office tracking firm Nielsen EDI tells me that SM4’s $41 mil makes for the top Easter-weekend bow ever, passing Panic Room’s $30 mil in 2002. Should the estimate hold, John says, it will wind up the second-best April bow ever, following Anger Management’s $42 mil in 2003. And this was all despite a C+ CinemaScore rating from audiences (almost perfectly split among women and men, under 18 and over 18) and a buncha boos from critics, too.
The weekend’s other big premiere, the animated kiddie flick The Wild (No. 4), laid a big old egg, herding a very poor $9.6 mil — way, way below the prognostications of industry experts and EW.com box office savants. That’s the third-worst debut for a CGI animated movie ever, following last summer’s Valiant ($5.9 mil) and this year’s Doogal ($3.6 mil). I guess audiences weren’t nearly as impressed with that super-realistic mane of hair on Kiefer Sutherland’s lion as I was. Then again, they gave the movie a B+ CinemaScore rating, so I wish they’d make up their minds. Overall point here is: Disney’s gotta be disappointed. And maybe a little scared, since Variety is reporting that there are a record 14 animated releases slated for 2006, and so far audiences haven’t warmed to much except Ice Age: The Meltdown (which finished at No. 2 in its third weekend, dropping just 41 percent to earn $20 mil; its overall take now stands at $147 mil).
Okay, moving quickly now through the rest of the list: The Benchwarmers scored a healthy $10 mil in its second weekend of play to slide into third base, er, place. Take the Lead danced up $6.7 mil to round out the top five. Thank You for Smoking (No. 8) expanded to a wide release and inhaled a healthy $4.5 mil. And a number of small-release indies bowed around the country — notably, the Spanish-language soap opera La Mujer de Mi Hermano, which grossed just over $1 mil; the biopic The Notorious Bettie Page, which pinned up a $7,246 average at 20 theaters; and the twisted morality/horror/pedophile-torture/cautionary tale Hard Candy, which bowed to a tangy $60,000 total at one venue in Hollywood and one in Greenwich Village.
Now, stop reading about the box office on a holiday. Go eat a Marshmallow Peep or something.