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.