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Weekend Box Office: The Croods a Stone-Age Hit, Olympus a Strong Second

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By Chris Kavan - 03/24/13 at 11:15 PM CT

It was a good opening weekend for families and finally, FINALLY we have an action film that surpassed expectations. It's too bad that the same weekend last year The Hunger Games opened to the tune of $152 million - more than the top 12 films combined made this weekend. Still, despite the 35% year-to-year decline, it was still one of the brighter weekends this year and hopefully portends good things to come.

1) THE CROODS

Families haven't had a lot to go on this year - only the mediocre Escape from Planet Earth (which opened Feb. 15) has provided relief. So it's not a big surprise that The Croods topped the box office with $44.7 million. That's right in line with How to Train Your Dragon ($43.7 million) and Megamind ($46 million). The audience actually ran a bit older (55% over 25) and across the board it received a positive A cinemascore. With little in the way of competition until May (when a bunch of blockbusters and the animated Epic hit), it should enjoy a nice run. The only disappointment has to be in its low 3D sales, which only made up 38% of its grosses - a low number for an animated film. It remains to be seen if it can emulate the success of Dragon - which reached $217.6 million before its run ended.

2) OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

Action films have taken a literal beating this year - from critics and audiences alike - and I didn't hold out much hope that Olympus Has Fallen would reverse that trend. Yet audiences apparently saw something from it I didn't, and it opened with a stronger-than-expected $30.5 million. That total was enough to beat ever other action movie this year (including A Good Day to Die Hard's $24.8 million). It also represented the best opening for director Antoine Fuqua - topping Training Day's $22.6 million opening. The audience was mostly older (73% over 25) but surprisingly only tracked only slightly more male (53%) - and audiences gave it a solid A- score. The real test will be to see how it holds up against G.I. Joe Retaliation.

3) OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

After holding on to the top spot for two weeks, Oz had to settle for third place with $22 million - off 47% compared to last weekend. After three weeks the film has brought in $177.6 million. It's still on pace to hit its $215 million budget but that's about the best it can hope for at this point - and that's not a bad number at all.

4) THE CALL

After a better-than-expected start, the Halle Berry thriller dropped 49% to wind up in fourth place with $8.7 million. That raised its total to $30.9 million after two weeks. It may not quite make it to $50 million - but considering its budget was only $13 million, it's already a winner in that department.

5) ADMISSION

After the brutal debut of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - it looks like audiences aren't ready to give comedies a break yet. Despite the inclusion of the popular Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, Admission could only bring in $6.45 million. It represents the worst opening thus far for Fey and tracks behind Rudd's recent duds including Our Idiot Brother ($7 million) and Wanderlust ($6.53 million). The audience was mostly female (68%) and older (47% over 50) and they gave it an unimpressive B- score - meaning this should fall out of the picture just as quickly as Burt Wonderstone has.

Outside the top five: after an impressive opening in limited release, Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers had a decent wide-release showing, taking in $5 million in sixth place. With marketing sticking to mostly social networking - the $2 million picture has probably already made a profit - though it's doubtful it will wind up with much more than $10 million or so by the time it leaves theaters.

And, in news that should surprise no one, the film I have officially claimed is going to be the worst movie of 2013 (yes, that even includes Movie 43) the Vince Offer "comedy" InAPPropriate Comedy opened in 275 theaters and wound up with a whopping $625-per-theater average. Not quite Ooogieloves bad - but close enough to that I'm sticking to my assessment of this piece of "film".

Next week sees the action-packed G.I. Joe Retaliation, The Host - based on yet another Stephanie Meyer's novel and Tyler Perry's Temptation - Madea-free entry from the director. Will Joes top Olympus? Will a YA novel-turned-movie prove to be another Twilight or another disappointment ala Beautiful Creatures? And how many people will continue to support Tyler Perry? Wait and see my friends, wait and see.

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