Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! easily won the box office Easter egg hunt, earning $25.1 million to finish in first place for a second straight weekend. With kids out of school for spring break and families taking in a little entertainment over the holiday, the animated family film defeated a solid slate of new releases on a decline of just 44 percent; after just two weeks, it is already 2008’s top film so far, with $86.5 mil in sum.
Also meeting expectations was the strong second-place run of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, which banked $20 mil. That total falls in line with the domestic dramedy auteur’s other debuts: It is about equal to the openings of last year’s Why Did I Get Married? ($21.4 mil) and 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman ($21.9 mil); it’s a little less than the premiere of 2006’s Madea’s Family Reunion ($30 mil); and it’s a little more than the first-weekend take of 2007’s Daddy’s Little Girls ($11.2 mil). And while critics still haven’t warmed to Perry’s films, audiences were perfectly pleased: Meet the Browns drew a solid-A CinemaScore review from a crowd that was, predictably, 59 percent female and 65 percent over the age of 25.
A poor CinemaScore grade of C, meanwhile, plagued Joshua Jackson’s Asian horror remake, Shutter (No. 3), which scared up just $10.7 mil. Still, it inched out the Owen Wilson comedy Drillbit Taylor (No. 4), which banked a mere $10.2 mil. That’s the second straight soft opening for Judd Apatow as a producer (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story bowed to $4.2 mil last December) — better luck when Forgetting Sarah Marshall opens next month, eh? Oh, and 10,000 BC ($8.7 mil) rounded out the top five.
Elsewhere, the feel-good Mexican-American illegal immigration story Under the Same Moon (No. 10) enjoyed the best bow ever for a Spanish-language movie on the U.S. side of the border, banking $2.6 mil in only 266 locations. Mucho dinero!
Overall, the box office was down nearly 17 percent from the same frame a year ago, but I’d argue that the weekend report is filled with more than enough good news to warm many a Hollywood heart on this sunny Easter Sunday.