CGI guinea pigs bested the boy wizard at the weekend box office.
Disney’s Jerry Bruckheimer-produced “G-Force” opened with $32.2 million, according to studio estimates, beating Warner Bros’ incumbent champion, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which slid 61% from its franchise-best premiere a week earlier.
Sony’s “The Ugly Truth" overcame almost unanimously poor reviews from critics, opening to $27 million and finishing third.
Despite the critical drubbing, the movie, starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, directed by Robert Luketic (“Legally Blonde”), and made for $38 million, according to studio officials, benefited from solid word of mouth, receiving an “A-“ CinemaScore rating.
Warner Bros. horror film “Orphan” also opened strongly, taking in $12.8 million at 2,750 locations.
Going into the weekend, it was widely expected that the sixth of Warner’s “Harry Potter” films would drop no more than 50%-55% and rule the box office for a second straight week.
Despite the bigger-than-anticipated decline, however, the film will finish its second weekend with a $221.8 million North American cume, a two-week domestic pace that exceeds all other previous “Potter” efforts.
Playing in 3,697 theaters, the live-action-and-CGI “G-Force” capitalized on a large pool of PG-targeted filmgoers who’d already seen “Potter,” with family audiences comprising 75% of the gross. And for those who hadn’t done "Harry," the Disney film enjoyed 1,604 3D runs, putting it at a competitive advantage over “Potter,” which doesn’t start its North American 3D engagements until July 29.
"Given that we’re in the second week of a ‘Harry Potter,’ and we also had an important romantic comedy like ‘The Ugly Truth’ coming out, we are very pleased to be above $30 million," said Disney motion picture group president Mark Zoradi.
Zoradi noted that although 3D screens represented only 43% of "G-Force’s" deployment, they generated about 56% of the film’s revenue.
As for the rest of the domestic box office, Fox’s first 3D effort, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” took in another $8.2 million to bring its cume to $171.3 million.
Grossing $457.9 million internationally going into the weekend, the third “Ice Age” installment will soon become the franchise’s most successful, bettering 2006’s “Ice Age: The Meltdown.”
Finishing in sixth place, Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” garnered another $8 million, upping its cume to $379 million to usurp 2003’s third “Lord of the Rings” movie as the 10th most successful North American release of all time.
Falling all the way to 10th place after just three weeks of release, Universal’s “Bruno” is almost done domestically, taking in just $2.7 million for a $56.5 million cume. However, the film — domestic and limited foreign rights of which were acquired by Universal for $42.5 million from Media Rights Capital — remains relevant overseas.
In fact, “Bruno” grossed another $6.5 million in 33 territories over the weekend, bringing its international total to $56 million and its global take to $112.5 million. The bulk of the international bounty has come from the U.K., Australia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and New Zealand, all of which fall Universal distribution rights.
As for indies, Fox Searchlight romantic comedy “500 Days of Summer” took in $1.6 million at 85 theaters over the weekend, upping its cume to $3 million after two weeks, a pace that nearly matches the arc of Searchlight’s mega-hit “Slumdog Millionaire” last year.
Meanwhile, Summit Entertainment’s “The Hurt Locker” finished the weekend with another $390,000 at 238 locations, bringing its cume to $4 million.