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your box office explained

Box Office: Everybody Wins! (But Especially Megamind)

This Weekend’s Winners: Symptoms of cerebral encephalitis usually include headache, fever, confusion, drowsiness, and fatigue — but DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind instead produced feelings of euphoria and glee, directly attributable to its $48 million haul. Meanwhile, 127 Hours made for the best opening of director Danny Boyle’s career, even though it was on just four screens and its star clearly had final cut. (Rim shot, please!)

Honorable mention: Due Date, which despite decidedly mixed reviews still managed sufficiently impressive grosses ($33.5 million) to justify its inexplicably, egregiously expensive $65 million price tag.

How It All Went Down: The weekend’s box-office grosses — $160 million total — are astonishingly robust for an utterly average, non-holiday, non-long fall weekend. It can't all be the end of daylight savings time, so what happened?

Every once in a great while, Hollywood’s release schedule briefly stops resembling a cage of braying, syphilitic monkeys and takes the form of a brilliantly directed choir of angels singing an irresistible siren song to each distinct moviegoing demographic. This was one of those rare weekends.

Reviews for DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind weren't as good as ones for this summer’s Despicable Me, but the film still opened big because it had families and kids all to itself. WB's Due Date, with its bawdy, R-rated humor, took adults. And Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls ($20.1 million) spoke directly to urban audiences. In short, no one title fought another for its audience. The result was a box office firing on all cylinders.

Meanwhile, in specialty film, Boyle’s 127 Hours saw a 35 percent spike in Friday-to-Saturday traffic — even in such a tiny release, that’s a good sign that the smart set likes the movie.

Finally, Fair Game, Doug Liman’s fictionalized account of the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, did modestly successful business: Summit Entertainment grossed a little less than three-quarters of a million bucks on a little over 45 screens, averaging a little more than $15,000 per screen. When Summit triples the number of screens, we'll see if Fair Game can have its yellowcake and eat it, too.


Your Top Ten:
1. Megamind (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $47.7 million
2. Due Date (Warner Bros.): $33.5 million
3. For Colored Girls (Lionsgate): $20.1 million
4. Red (Summit): $8.9 million
5. Saw 3D (Lionsgate): $8.2 million
6. Paranormal Activity 2 (Paramount): $7.3 million
7. Jackass 3D (Paramount): $5.1 million
8. Hereafter (Warner Bros.): $4.02 million
9. Secretariat (Disney): $4 million
10. The Social Network (Sony): $3.6 million

Photo: Paramount Pictures