‘Ice Age,’ ‘Transformers’ Sparkle at Box Office
In an Independence Day battle at theaters among transforming robots, prehistoric mammals and Johnny Depp, the winner was fireworks.
Fourth of July festivities took a chunk out of ticket sales over the weekend and left a rare tie at the box office. "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" both claimed $42.5 million for the weekend, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI. Final figures will settle a winner today.
Good weather in much of the country led to weak Saturday ticket sales as people opted for holiday gatherings over the multiplex. Business was off about 35 percent on what is usually Hollywood's busiest day of the week.
Still, studio executives were crowing over the numbers, which were up 2 percent over the same weekend last year. "We couldn't be happier with a tie for first," says Bert Livingston of 20th Century Fox, which released "Ice Age".
The third installment of the animated franchise met most analysts' expectations, thanks to an unexpected audience: teens without their parents. About 45 percent of the moviegoers were non-families.
"People have spent years with these characters," Livingston says. "They obviously see them as old friends."
Though falling 61 percent from its debut, "Transformers" continues to do brisk business. It has raked in $293.5 million in two weeks and has the second-highest 10-day debut, behind "The Dark Knight's" $314 million.
Johnny Depp's John Dillinger biopic, "Public Enemies", also managed respectable holiday business, taking third place with $26.1 million.
Riding the heels of strong reviews, Michael Mann's drama is in good position to break $100 million, much like his 2004 film "Collateral", which opened to $25 million and ended up with $101 million.
"A lot has been made of adult-skewing films not doing well," says Adam Fogelson, president of marketing and distribution for Universal, which released "Enemies". "But you take one of the best actors of our time, playing one of the most interesting gangsters ever, and you're not going to get lost."
"The Proposal" was fourth ($12.8 million), followed by "The Hangover" ($10.4 million).