UPDATE – ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ to Battle ‘Spider-Man’ at Box Office!


Ice Age box officeSaturday Update: On Friday “Ice Age: Continental Drift” had a stellar N. American debut taking in $16.5 million which could give it a better-than-expected $45 million plus for the weekend! This puts “The Amazing Spider-Man” in second place for Friday with around $10.2 million and an expected $35 million for the weekend. Rounding out Friday’s Top 5 is “Ted” with $6.8M/just over $20M for wknd., “Magic Mike” with $3.415M/around $10M for wknd. and “Brave 3D” with $3.257M/around $11M for the wknd.

This from Friday, July 13: Only one new wide release opener hits screens this weekend as the fourth installment in the insanely successful “Ice Age” franchise from Twentieth Century Fox, Ice Age: Continental Drift (read our Ice Age review) hits 3,880 theaters in its North American debut. The film has been playing in international territories since the weekend of June 29 when it shattered box office records on its way to a $78 million opening weekend from 9,505 screens and #1 debuts in all 34 markets. The film has taken in over $200 million to date even before setting one big animated foot in North American theaters where family audiences have had a seemingly insatiable appetite for high profile animated 3D films. A case in point: When Disney’s Brave entered the marketplace and its opening weekend was bigger-than-expected, Paramount/Dreamworks “Madagascar 3” still performed well without taking the anticipated third weekend dramatic and competition induced drop (it dropped a mere 42%).

Impressively, the “Ice Age” franchise has taken in a whopping $2.1 billion-plus at the worldwide box office and nearly $600 million in North America. In addition, the first three films including March 2002’s “Ice Age” ($46.3M opening) , March 2006’s “Ice Age: The Meltdown” ($68M opening) and July 2009’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” ($41.7M opening) all performed like champs drawing huge numbers of kids and parents to North American theater screens. Keeping in mind that there are two animated films still playing in the marketplace (including of course the aforementioned “Brave” and also “Madagascar 3”), an expected opening weekend gross in line with the first and third installments is to be expected in the $40 million range. Of course the always tough to track family audience could push this latest version to even greater heights.

Of course “Ice Age” will have to climb over a very tenacious spider to get there with Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man re-boot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone enjoying a terrific domestic and international run in theaters around the world. The film hit the $400 million mark worldwide on Wednesday, July 11 and also edged near the $160 million threshold in North America on the same day. The film had a pre Fourth-of-July record Tuesday opening day gross of over $38 million on July 3, earned $62 million for its Friday through Sunday and $137.0 million for its first six days in North America where it continues to elicit strong word-of-mouth and critical praise. An expected second weekend gross that is difficult to project due to the Tuesday debut over a week ago could give it a gross in the $30 to $40 million range and put it in the hunt for first place. No matter what happens, with over $400 million in the bank no one is crying for Spidey!

This brings us to that adorable, foul-mouthed and much beloved teddy bear of Seth MacFarlane’s Ted. The Universal Pictures release will enjoy another great weekend that will bring the R-rated comedic fantasy another $18 to $20 million in funny bear stuffing and push it well over the $150 million mark in North America by Sunday night. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, the unadulterated goofiness of the concept has had audiences buzzing for weeks as the date-crowd continues to line up at theaters. The red band trailer, a great overall marketing campaign as well as social networking buzz helped push the film into the record books with the biggest R-rated comedy non-sequel debut ahead of the original “The Hangover” ($44.979M) and the third highest R-rated comedy debut ever behind just “The Hangover 2” ($85.9M) and “Sex and the City” ($57.038M).

Disney/Pixar’s 13th movie release, “Brave” in 3D will enter its fourth weekend with over $180 million as it continues to hit the box office bullseye in North America with a likely weekend gross of around $10 to $11 million. No question that the number one film will provide formidable competition to this veteran of the family marketplace and thus it may have to battle Warner Bros.’ Magic Mike and Universal’s Savages in a box office pole dance for fourth place bragging rights.

That said, “Savages” has a shot at a second weekend gross of around $9 million while “Magic Mike” in its third weekend should strip another $7 to $8 million from willing viewers after a taking a 60 percent drop last weekend to round out the Top 5.

Nevertheless, it should be another fun-filled summer ride at the nation’s theaters as the “something for everybody” axiom certainly applies and a rabid fanbase gears up for their storming of movie theaters around the world with the debut of perhaps the most anticipated movie of the year, The Dark Knight Rises from Warner Bros. on July 20.