‘How to Train Your Dragon’ wins weekend box office

“How to Train Your Dragon” won the weekend box office race with ease, grossing $43.3 million for the three-day frame. (A solid 11.5 percent of that cash came from 187 IMAX theaters.)

The DreamWorks Animation film, which has won rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, may well have bowed with a far bigger number had it not been sandwiched between two other high-profile 3-D releases.


The Viking-era-set action-adventure had to share 3-D screens with “Alice in Wonderland,” which in its fourth weekend in theaters managed to claim $17.3 million of box office gross, a respectable 49 percent drop that leaves the Tim Burton-directed film on the precipice of $300 million total.

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Dragon‘ should enjoy solid grosses during the upcoming week with kids across the country out of school for spring break, but it’s likely to get squeezed next weekend when the highly anticipated “Clash of the Titans” rolls into 3-D theaters with a vengeance.

Hot Tub Time Machine” bowed to an estimated $13.6 million for its opening weekend, good enough to claim third place. The R-rated ’80s nostalgia fest starring John Cusack drew in a crowd mostly over age 25, playing strong on the two coasts and in college towns, while underperforming in the South. The movie, from director Steve Pink, generated a B from Cinemascore, a response that doesn’t necessarily portend a strong second weekend.

Surprisingly, “The Bounty Hunter,” which debuted last weekend in third place, held in well its sophomore session, dropping only 40 percent for an additional $12.4 million. The Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler-starrer has now grossed $38.8 million total.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid” suffered from ‘Dragon’ competition. The well-reviewed film fell 55 percent in its second weekend to $10 million and a fifth-place finish. The movie’s two-week take now stands at $35.7 million.

“She’s Out of My League” landed in the sixth spot in its third weekend with another $3.5 million and a total gross of $25.6 million.

“Green Zone” took in $3.3 million; total gross for this expensive Matt Damon-starrer stands at only $30.4 million after three weekends.

The Leonardo DiCaprio-Martin Scorsese thriller “Shutter Island” earned another $3.2 million for a six-week total of $120 million.

Repo Men” landed in 9th spot with $3 million. The Jude Law-Forest Whitaker-starrer has grossed only $11.3 million after two weekends.

“Our Family Wedding” rounded out the top ten with an additional $2.2 million. The film has earned $16.7 million in three weeks.

Limited release films are not scoring well with audiences lately, despite boasting a solid pedigree of talent. For example, Atom Egoyan’s R-rated drama “Chloe” starring Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried earned just over $1 million. Opening in 350 theaters, the film scored a weak per-screen average of $2,863.

The second weekend of “Greenberg” and “The Runaways” didn’t earn much better results. Even with the star power of Ben Stiller, the Noah Baumbach film grossed only $1 million, though with a per-screen average of $5,850.

Meanwhile, the Kristen Stewart-Dakota Fanning-starrer “The Runaways” grossed $445,810 its second weekend in theaters. On 237 screens, the film’s per-screen was a weak $1,881 and its total is only $1.57 million.

Despite solid turns from the new releases, the overall weekend was down compared with last year at this time, when “Monsters vs. Aliens” bowed to $59.3 million. The difference: ‘MVA’ had the 3-D screens all to itself. Next weekend sure will be interesting when three studios are competing to hold on to those coveted extra-dimensional theaters. Stay tuned.

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