Horton hears a cash register.
On the heels of a ubiquitous ad campaign and positive reviews, “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” enjoyed the biggest debut of the year by taking in $45.1 million, according to studio estimates from box office trackers Nielsen EDI.
The haul was about $5 million more than projected and broke Disney’s stranglehold on the top five openings for animated movies. 20th Century Fox’s “Horton ”took fifth place, behind “Finding Nemo”, “Monsters, Inc.”, “Cars ”and “Ratatouille”.
And the film, featuring the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, did it largely with teens and adults without children. About 47 percent of the audience was non-family, according to Fox’s exit surveys.
More important, says Fox’s Chris Aronson, “Horton ”captured the essence of Seuss’ books by remaining animated.
The previous two adaptations, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The” “Cat in the Hat”, were live-action films.
“We essentially wanted to take people into the pages of a Seuss book, which means a lot of color, a lot of vibrancy - and animation that’s true to his work,” Aronson says. “What’s great is how many adults still respond to his work.”
The film earned recommendations from 82 percent of the nation’s critics, according to RottenTomatoes.com.
And with only April 4’s “Nim’s Island” competing for family audiences through the next three weeks, there is little question “Horton ”could carry its momentum beyond $100 million, which the two previous Seuss movies easily surpassed.
“I think you’re going to see more studios getting into the Seuss business,” says Paul Dergarabedian of industry tracking firm Media By Numbers. “Blue Sky Animation (which illustrated ”Horton“) is already working on ”Green Eggs and Ham“,” tentatively scheduled for 2011.
The historic adventure “10,000 B.C.” was second, dropping 54 percent from its debut to take $16.4 million. It has earned in $61.2 million in two weeks.
The high school sports drama “Never Back Down” did better than expected, opening to $8.6 million and taking third place, followed by Martin Lawrence’s comedy “College Road Trip”, which earned $7.9 million.
The political action thriller“ Vantage Point” continued its strong run. It earned fifth place with $5.4 million after a month in theaters. It has taken in $59.2 million.
The only other major newcomer, the sci-fi horror film “Doomsday”, met most expectations with $4.7 million, good for seventh place.
Ticket sales surged 17 percent ahead of last weekend and were roughly even with sales the same weekend last year.
Horton hears a cash register.
MOVIES: Could 'Knight’ catch 'Titanic’ wave?
With $43.8 million this weekend, “The Dark Knight” becomes the year’s first movie to claim the box office throne for three straight weeks and appears destined to become at least the second-biggest film of all time.
- MOVIES: ‘Dark Knight’ sets weekend record with $155.34M Batman has sent Spidey packing as king of Hollywood’s box-office superheroes.
- BOX OFFICE: ’Indiana Jones’ unearths $126M in box office gold Indiana Jones unearthed box office gold at domestic theaters with a performance that puts the film on track to become the second biggest Memorial Day movie opening ever, according to studio estimates.
LIFESTYLE: Jivin' at the drive-in
As the drive-in theater readies for its 75th anniversary this summer, a group of local enthusiasts is banding together to make sure the seasonal icon is around for decades more.
- MOVIES: Silent film fest coming to NT An often-overlooked silent film star will get the spotlight to himself this weekend at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.
- MOVIES: ‘Prom Night’ carves out No. 1 stake at weekend box office Audiences made a date with “Prom Night,” the remake of the 1980 slasher flick that took in $22.7 million to debut as the weekend’s No. 1 movie, according to studio estimates.
- LANE: Computers may erase animators' presence While the “Toy Story” series, “Ratatouille” and other computer-generated films are well-done (and dazzling to look at sometimes), there’s just something about the old-school, hand-drawn movies that’s special.
- FILM: On ’Quantum of Solace’ set, even the explosions are feeling lonely Picking up an hour after “Casino Royale” left off, “Quantum of Solace” is Bond franchise’s first direct sequel. Filming began in January and has taken the crew from Britain to Panama to this moonlike landscape in northern Chile, which is standing in for Bolivia.
- MOVIES: '21' doubles down to stay on top The gambling tale “21” kept up its winning streak as it took in $15.1 million to stay on top of the box office for a second-straight weekend, leaving George Clooney’s “Leatherheads” and the family tale “Nim’s Island” to scrimmage for second place.
- MOVIES: 'Natural' party opens film fest One of the best parts of filming “The Natural” for Craig Stonebraker was seeing the filmmakers play God for an afternoon.
- More Flicks Headlines
- MOVIES: Could 'Knight’ catch 'Titanic’ wave? With $43.8 million this weekend, “The Dark Knight” becomes the year’s first movie to claim the box office throne for three straight weeks and appears destined to become at least the second-biggest film of all time.