‘Megamind’s’ Middling $47.7M Leads Strong Overall Box Office

DreamWork’s latest 3D toon perks up Saturday but still opens soft; $154M overall box office is biggest first weekend of November ever

Even after a big $20 million-plus Saturday, DreamWorks Animation will experience its latest underwhelming opening for a 3D-animated film, with "Megamind" grossing an estimated $47.7 million over the weekend in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio data.

But the overall box office hit an estimated $154 million, the best aggregate performance ever for the first weekend of November ever. 

Warner Bros. Todd Phillips comedy "Due Date" finished in second place with $33.5 million. The Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis comedy not only matched pre-release tracking, it set a record for an R-rated opening in November.

In third place, Lionsgate grossed a strong $20.1 million on its latest Tyler Perry film, "For Colored Girls," despite poor reviews for the R-rated musical drama.

Among limited openings, Fox Searchlight's Danny Boyle-directed "127 Hours" grossed a strong $265,925 in four theaters, with the R-rated biopic about self-amputating adventurer Aron Ralston, which stars James Franco, averaging about $66,000 per screen.

Meanwhile, Summit's Valerie Plame biopic "Fair Game" started out to $700,000 playing at 46 theaters for a soft pre-screen average of just under $15,000.

Here's how the top 10 finished. Full report continues below chart:

The biggest stories were "Megamind" and "Due Date," which led the box office to its best beginning-of-November performance since 2003, when the weekend yielded $153 million.

The box office was up around 28 percent over the same weekend last year, which was led by Disney under-performer "A Christmas Carol."

Budgeted at around $130 million and already yielding $18.6 million in overseas box office, "Megamind" exceeded the soft $43.7 million debut of DreamWorks' last original 3D feature, "How to Train Your Dragon."

However, it didn't surpass 2009's "Monsters vs. Aliens," which started out to $59.3 million — a performance that has become the stringent measuring stick that Wall Street and other external forces have been using to assess DreamWorks openings.

Unlike "Monsters," however, "Megamind" didn't open alone.

"Megamind" had part of its Friday adult, date-night audience sapped away by "Due Date" and "For Colored Girls."

In fact, the Paramount-distributed "Megamind" enjoyed a 65 percent Friday-to-Saturday bump, with the film's family-day Saturday tally coming in at nearly $21 million.

"It was really in line with our expectations," said 

DreamWorks Animation global marketing and consumer-products chief Anne Globe.

Added a rival-studio official: "They'll still get to $165 million domestically or slightly north of that. It's hard to look at a movie that gets to at least $150 million and say it's a disappointment."

But who's to say it won't go past $200 million?

Garnering an A-minus grade from movie word-of-mouth surveyor Cinemascore, "Megamind" would seem to have the same playability index as "How to Train Your Dragon," which parlayed an A Cinemascore to an eventual $217.6 million domestic performance. 

Playing in 3,944 locations in the U.S. and Canada, 2,634 of them 3D-equipped, "Megamind" grossed 66 percent of its revenue from 3D tickets. The movie also took in $3.2 million playing at 195 domestic IMAX locations.

The decently reviewed film (67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) voice stars Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt.

"Due Date," meanwhile, had a record opening for an R-rated comedy in November, while also yielding star Downey Jr. his biggest comedy premiere to date, besting the $25.8 million start for 2008's "Tropic Thunder."

The film, co-financed by Warner and Legendary Pictures at a cost of $65 million, also hit pre-release forecasts of between $30 million to $35 million.

Of course, there was that nagging, if somewhat unreasonable, expectation that "Due Date" would somehow massively over-perform like Phillips' last movie did, with 2009's "The Hangover"  overshooting projections in the mid-twenties to do $45 million on its opening summer weekend.

Of course, this ain't summer, and "Due Date" (39 percent Rotten Tomatoes score) ain't "The Hangover." 

"Other than the fact that Todd is a brilliant director, we never tried to compare the two," said Warner executive VP of distribution Jeff Goldstein. "That was a June opening, and it really was lighting in a bottle."