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your box office explained

Your Box Office Explained: Ice Age Wins the Mid-Batman/Spider-Man Slot

This Weekend’s Winners: The weekend’s No. 1 slot went to the fourth Ice Age film, whose $46 million haul proved the franchise is a lot like pizza: When it’s good, it’s great, but even when it’s mediocre, it’s still pretty good.

Honorable Mention: Mr. YBOE thinks this weekend’s second- and sixth-place finishers should be singled out for special props for their very modest drops: Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man and Universal’s Savages decreasing just 44 and 41 percent, respectively.

This Weekend’s Loser: Box office overall is down almost 40 percent compared with the same time last year. Then again, that was when the final Harry Potter opened. To put that shortfall into perspective, if you were to take every cent the top ten films grossed this past weekend combined, it still wouldn’t add up to the just shy of $170 million Harry grossed all by his lonesome.

Dishonorable Mention: 3-D. Nearly 3,900 theaters carried the fourth Ice Age, and 2,700 of them – almost 70 percent –  screened it in 3-D. But only slightly more than a third (35 percent) of tickets were sold in the third dimensions, a sure sign that parents are done paying more for a frill that most kiddos couldn't care less about.

How It All Went Down: We’d say the Ice Age franchise is getting long in the tooth, but it’s principal characters are all prehistoric carnivores, so that’s a bit redundant. Could it simply be that the always young-skewing Ice Age is now a decade-old franchise that’s seemingly been outgrown by its fans? No doubt, that was the whole point of introducing new cast members voiced by Drake and Nicki Minaj — except, of course, that no one really goes to animated films because any one star is lending their pipes to the affair. They go because they are too young to vote in the matter, because they are the chaperones for those too young to vote in the matter, or because the product overwhelmingly delivers the goods.

In the case of Ice Age the fourth, only the former two seemed to apply. In any event, the fourth outing for any franchise rarely bests the first (Shrek Forever After, for example, grossed less domestically than any of the three previous ogres), and if the latest Ice Age is any indication, this latest frozen treat is likely to follow in those footsteps, too: At $46 million, Ice Age: Continental Drift isn’t just opening behind recent animated competitors like The Lorax ($70.2M) and Madagascar 3 ($60.3M), but behind even the first Ice Age ($46.3M). And yet, summer is long, and Ice Age lacks any meaningful family competition in the weeks to come (next weekend, Brave will be entering its fifth weekend, and Madagascar 3 its seventh) so Fox can expect that family audiences are likely to go with the floe.

Photo: Blue Sky Studios/Twentieth Century