In a reversal of yesterday's studio estimates, Lionsgate's Kick-Ass was able to hold off Paramount's How to Train Your Dragon for first place this weekend. Kick-Ass debuted with $19.83 million, which topped Dragon by a slim $195,367 for the frame. While the debut of Kick-Ass was disappointing in comparison to expectations, it was by no means a disaster either.
Much like the recent Hot Tub Time Machine, massive internet hype for Kick-Ass didn't necessarily transfer into business at the box office. The R rating also seems to have limited the film's potential, which in turn may have helped the holding power of this weekend's PG and PG-13 rated fare a bit. Kick-Ass started softer than a number of adaptations of comics and graphic novels to launch in the Spring, as it opened 32 percent below 2005's Sin City, 23 percent below 2006's V for Vendetta and 14 percent below 2004's Hellboy.
How to Train Your Dragon ultimately had to settle for a close second when actuals came in. Nevertheless, the crowd-pleasing computer animated film from DreamWorks held up exceptionally well once again with a gross of $19.63 million in its fourth weekend of release. That was down only 21 percent from last weekend, as the film continues to benefit greatly from strong word of mouth and continued sales from its higher priced 3D engagements. This weekend's hold was especially impressive given that it was coming on the heels of last weekend's strong post-Easter hold. How to Train Your Dragon has grossed $158.25 million in 24 days of release. Dragon is now running just 3 percent behind last year's Monsters vs. Aliens and is set to overtake the pace of that film before long thanks to much stronger holding power.
Holding up surprisingly well this weekend was Fox's Date Night. The romantic comedy starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey fell only 34 percent from last weekend's debut. Date Night finished in third with $16.72 million. As the film's title would suggest, Date Night is clearly appealing to date night audiences on Friday and Saturday nights. That could help lead to continued strong weekend holds in the weeks ahead, though midweek business could appear softer than normal in comparison as well. The ten-day gross for Date Night stands at $48.67 million, placing it 52 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's Baby Mama. At its current rate, Date Night is in good shape to reach the $90 million domestic mark before the end of its run.
Sony's Death at a Funeral opened in a softer than expected fourth place with $16.22 million. Like Kick-Ass, the R-rated comedy remake from Screen Gems starring Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence also opened below expectations. Despite the added presence of Rock and Tracy Morgan, Death at a Funeral still opened right on par with the $16.21 million start of 2008's Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, which starred Lawrence. Death at a Funeral may have been affected by opening just two weeks after Why Did I Get Married Too?, though the latest Tyler Perry film provided little competition this weekend given its rapid rate of decline.
Clash of the Titans was down four spots to round out the weekend's top five with $15.39 million. However, the 3D film from Warner Bros. held up better than expected, as it was down a modest 42 percent from last weekend. In what turned out to be a buffet-style weekend at the box office, the first place and fifth place films were separated by $4.44 million.
While Titans is no longer on tops domestically, it continued to dominate the international box office this weekend with a gross of $55.3 million. Key international debuts for Titans this weekend included $7.4 million in China, $7.4 million in Mexico and $4.5 million in Italy. To date Clash of the Titans has grossed $132.60 million domestically and $189.7 million internationally.