(EW.com) -- This weekend, The Croods proved that cave people have more pop culture appeal than just Geico commercials.
The $135 million film, which features vocal performances by Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds, bashed up a strong $44.7 million in its first three days — the second best debut of 2013 behind Oz's $79.1 million bow. The colorful family film was produced by DreamWorks Animation, whose last film, Rise of the Guardians, severely underperformed and forced the company to take an $87 million write-down. Thus, The Croods' success (for reference, Rise opened with just $23.7 million on its way to a $103.2 million domestic finish) is vindicating for the Jeffrey-Katzenberg-owned studio.
For distributor Fox, who inked a five-year distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation last year, The Croods is poised to become a massive success. The film opened in the same range as 2012′s Ice Age: Continental Drift ($46.7 million) and higher than the studio's 2011 release, Rio, which began its flight with $39.2 million.
With an "A" CinemaScore and Easter/Spring Break ahead for many young school-goers — plus the fact that there are literally no family or animated films hitting theaters until Epic on May 24 — The Croods could evolve into a box office mammoth. A $200 million domestic finish wouldn't surprise me one bit. Internationally, The Croods proved equally appealing, bowing with $63.3 million for a sizzling $108 million global total after its first three days.
In second, FilmDistrict's White House thriller Olympus Has Fallen scored an impressive $30.5 million from 3,098 theaters, making its debut the best action start of 2013 — ahead of A Good Day to Die Hard, which took in only $24.8 million in its first weekend.
Olympus, which stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman, cost Millennium Films $70 million to produce, but with an "A-" CinemaScore, the presidential thriller may enjoy better-than-expected legs. Interestingly, Olympus isn't the only White House action movie hitting theaters in 2013. Sony's Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx vehicle White House Down is currently slated for a June 28 release.
Olympus arrives on the heels of numerous older-male-targeting action flops like Bullet to the Head, Parker, and The Last Stand, which makes its success all the more impressive. FilmDistrict did manage to reach men, who made up 53 percent of the opening weekend audience, with television ads on Spike, History, ESPN, Comedy Central, Discovery, The Walking Dead, NCAA tournament coverage, and Fox's Sunday animation block, but it's also telling that women comprised 47 percent of the audience. According to exit polling, crowds were 73 percent above the age of 25.
The film also marks a return-to-form for leading man Butler, whose last three wide releases, Chasing Mavericks ($6 million total), Playing for Keeps ($13.1 million), and Movie 43 ($8.8 million), have all badly flopped. Olympus Has Fallen's strong opening weekend is Butler's career second-best behind his breakout 300, which bowed with $70.9 million in 2007.
Down two spots to third place, Disney's $215 million Sam Raimi-directed adventure Oz The Great and Powerful fell 47 percent to $22 million in its third weekend, lifting its total to $177.6 million overall. Worldwide, the film has earned $356.4 million, though international receipts ($178.8 million) haven't been as robust as most were expecting.
Halle Berry's schlocky thriller The Call dropped 49 percent in its second weekend to $8.7 million, giving it a respectable $30.9 million ten-day total. The $13 million production, distributed by Sony's division TriStar, has now earned more than the last film starring Berry in a leading role, Cloud Atlas, which tanked with only $27.8 million against a $100 million budget.
Rounding out the Top 5 was the Tina Fey/Paul Rudd comedy Admission, which only earned $6.4 million from 2,160 theaters in its first weekend. Audiences rejected the Focus Features film, which fortunately cost just $13 million to produce. Admission marks the first real bomb for Fey, who previously found success with Mean Girls ($86.1 million), Baby Mama ($60.5 million), and Date Night ($98.7 million) — all sharper, edgier comedies than this.
For Rudd, on the other hand, Admission is the fourth bomb out of his five last releases. Though the actor's previous film, This is 40, quietly blossomed into a mid-level hit at the holiday box office with $67.5 million, his other recent efforts all began in the same sad range as Admission. 2010′s How Do You Know ($7.5 million debut, $30.2 million finish), 2011′s Our Idiot Brother ($7 million debut, $24.8 million finsh), and 2012′s Wanderlust ($6.5 million debut, $17.5 million finish) each hurt his box office credibility. Rudd tends to fare better in dude-movies like Role Models, I Love You Man, and Dinner For Shmucks, which each earned about $70 million domestically.
1. The Croods -- $44.6 million
2. Olympus Has Fallen -- $30.5 million
3. Oz The Great and Powerful -- $22 million
4. The Call -- $8.7 million
5. Admission -- $6.4 million
6. Spring Breakers -- $5 million
In sixth place, the Disney-girls-gone-bad film Spring Breakers found $5 million from 1,102 theaters. The A24 release has garnered massive publicity thanks to the allure of seeing onetime Disney starlets like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens (who, granted, didn't have a squeaky clean reputation) traipsing about in bikinis while wielding guns, but the deeply strange R-rated art piece, which also stars James Franco, confounded many young moviegoers this weekend, and word-of-mouth is destined to squash Spring Breakers' hopes of mainstream success. Still, the film cost only $2 million to produce, and it should ultimately become a profitable venture for the fledgling studio.
Way, way further down the chart, Lindsay Lohan's latest, InAPPropriate Comedy, which was directed by ShamWow shiller Vince Offer, had one of the worst debuts of the year. I thought it deserved its own post.
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