Box Office Analysis, May 20: Third ‘Shrek’ Sets Records

Let’s hear it for the big green ogre! Shrek the Third easily snagged the top spot at the North American box office this weekend, taking in a record $122 million and breaking the franchise’s own record for best debut ever for an animated film.

The latest fairytale spoof shot past 2004’s Shrek 2, the previous record-holder for animated openings with $108 million and is now the third-biggest debut ever, coming in behind the $151.1 million haul of this month’s Spider-Man 3 and the $135.6 million gross of last summer’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

“The opening was significantly beyond our expectations,” Anne Globe, head of marketing for DreamWorks Animation told The Associated Press. “The movie played much more like an all-audience movie. It played broadly to general and family audiences.”

Reigning champ Spider-Man 3 slipped to second place with $28.5 million. But box office analysts are looking towards the future. Next up is Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which many believe has a shot at breaking the debut record of Spider-Man 3, even though it runs nearly three hours, limiting the number of screenings theaters can fit in each day.

“The third film of this massive triumvirate is on the way. Given the strength of Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third, anticipation is running extremely high for Pirates 3,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers, told AP. “Both Spider-Man and Shrek exceeded expectations, so who knows with Pirates? The marketplace is just exploding right now.”

The Top-12 movies took in $172.9 million, up 11.63 percent from last year’s total of $154.9 million and up 79.64 percent from last weekend’s total of $96.2 million. The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: Sony’s The Da Vinci Code, which opened at No. 1 with $77 million in 3,735 theaters, averaging $20,635 per theater; DreamWorks’ Over the Hedge, which opened in second place with $38.4 million in 4,059 theaters, averaging $9,475 per theater; and Paramount’s Mission: Impossible III, which dropped to third place in its third week with $11.3 million in 3,450 theaters, averaging $3,290 per theater. (Click here to read last year’s box office report).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES:

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: Shrek the Third (DreamWorks, PG)

• Gross: $122 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 4,122

• Per-theater average: $29,597

No. 2: Spider-Man 3 (Sony, PG-13)

• Gross: $28.5 million (-51%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 4,324 (+72)

• Per-theater average: $6,591

• Cume to date: $281.8 million

No. 3: 28 Weeks Later (Fox Atomic, R)

• Gross: $5.1 million (-47%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,305 (+2)

• Per-theater average: $2,234

• Cume to date: $18.6 million

No. 4: Disturbia (Paramount, PG-13)

• Gross: $3.6 million (-22%)

• Weeks opened: 6

• Theaters: 2,547 (-559)

• Per-theater average: $1,443

• Cume to date: $71.3 million

No. 5: Georgia Rule (Universal, R)

• Gross: $3.4 million (-48%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,531

• Per-theater average: $1,380

• Cume to date: $12.6 million

No. 6: Fracture (New Line, R)

• Gross: $2.3 million (-20%)

• Weeks opened: 5

• Theaters: 1,607 (-595)

• Per-theater average: $1,478

• Cume to date: $34.6 million

No. 7: Delta Farce (Lionsgate, PG-13)

• Gross: $1.8 million (-46%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 1,931 (unchanged)

• Per-theater average: $953

• Cume to date: $6.1 million

No. 8: The Invisible (Buena Vista, PG-13)

• Gross: $1.3 million (-44%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 1,378 (-565)

• Per-theater average: $949

• Cume to date: $17.6 million

No. 9: Hot Fuzz (Rogue, R)

• Gross: $1.2 million (-27%)

• Weeks opened: 5

• Theaters: 973 (-267)

• Per-theater average: $1,290

• Cume to date: $21 million

No. 10: Waitress (Fox Searchlight, PG-13)

• Gross: $1.1 million (+73%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 116 (+51)

• Per-theater average: $9,784

• Cume to date: $2.1 million

OTHER OPENINGS

The Wendell Baker Story (ThinkFilm, PG-13)

• Gross: $53,600

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 17

• Per-theater average: $3,153

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