Ice Age: Continental Drift should easily freeze out the competition at this weekend’s box office, where the fourth installment of the wildly popular (and profitable) animated series is the only new wide release — and the first major kid movie since last month’s Brave. In the 10 years since the original Ice Age (2002), the franchise has become a remarkably consistent moneymaker for Fox. Its last entry, 2009’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, opened with a $41.7 million three-day weekend (though its full tally at that point was $66.7 million thanks to a Wednesday opening). Meanwhile, the similarly targeted Madagascar 3 bowed to $60.3 million last month and is crossing the $200 million mark as we speak, a sign of strong attendance from the stroller set. Look for Ice Age: Continental Drift to do about the same, netting $60 million in its first weekend.
The lack of new releases also means that The Amazing Spider-Man has plenty of room to stretch its legs this weekend. Without any new rivals for adults and fanboys, Sony’s record-setting tentpole should have no trouble keeping up its blockbuster pace in its second full frame. Looking at the runs of past summer hits like Marvel’s The Avengers or last year’s Fourth of July titan Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Amazing Spider-Man should slide about 50 percent to $31 million, bringing its cumulative haul to an even $200 million by the end of the weekend. Of course, Spidey’s path won’t stay clear for long: The Dark Knight Rises rises will steal the spotlight — and a huge chunk of Spider-Man’s core audience — when it bows next weekend.
Last weekend’s runner-up, Ted, could also have a mild decline thanks to the open playing field. The raunchy comedy, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, will likely lose 40 percent or so, bringing it in at $19 million for an end-of-weekend total of $155 million — surpassing 21 Jump Street as the year’s highest grossing comedy.
Oliver Stone’s Savages debuted to a meek $16 million last week and got a C+ score in exit polls, which means it will probably drop sharply out of the top five this weekend. That leaves room for Brave and Magic Mike to squeeze in at fourth and fifth place respectively with drops of around 40 percent each, though Brave could take a harder hit from Ice Age.
1. Ice Age: Continental Drift – $60 million
2. The Amazing Spider-Man – $31 million
3. Ted – $19 million
4. Brave – $10 million
5. Magic Mike – $9 million
Keep checking EW for full box office coverage during the weekend.