Battle: Los Angeles debuted in first, while Red Riding Hood disappointed and Mars Needs Moms was a disaster.

‘Battle: Los Angeles’ Wins, ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Tanks

on March 14, 2011 by Daniel Garris

Coming as no surprise, Sony's Battle: Los Angeles led this weekend's box office with ease. The sci-fi action film was off to a slightly larger than expected start with $35.57 million. Battle: Los Angeles skewed heavily towards male moviegoers (68 percent) and was fairly split between moviegoers over 25 (55 percent) and those 25 and under (45 percent). The film's strength with younger moviegoers was a key component in its ability to outpace expectations. Battle: Los Angeles registered the second largest debut of 2011 thus far (behind only last weekend's Rango) and the 13th largest ever debut in the month of March (without taking into account ticket price inflation). Battle: Los Angeles opened 5 percent softer than 2009's District 9 ($37.35 million) and 1 percent softer than 2008's 10,000 B.C. ($35.87 million).

Battle: Los Angeles was fairly front-loaded this weekend; it opened with $13.40 million on Friday and registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.65 to 1. However, the film could still hold up fairly well for its genre going forward thanks in part to upcoming midweek Spring Break business. Its B rating on CinemaScore also strongly suggests that it is going over much better with moviegoers than it is with critics. Internationally, Battle: Los Angeles grossed $16.7 million, giving it a worldwide start of $52.3 million.

After last weekend's first place debut there was some debate as to whether or not Rango would hold up well with family audiences; so far so good. Paramount's computer animated film featuring Johnny Depp was down a solid 41 percent to finish in second with $22.60 million. Rango has now grossed $68.21 million through ten days of release, meaning it will have no problem clearing the $100 million domestic milestone, especially with stronger Spring Break midweek business ahead of it. With no new family fare entering the marketplace on Friday, Rango could hold up better next weekend. The film is currently running 21 percent behind the pace of 2008's Horton Hears a Who!, which fell 45 percent in its second weekend of release.

Warner's Red Riding Hood debuted below expectations with a third place performance of $14.01 million. The Catherine Hardwicke directed film starring Amanda Seyfried had been positioned to capitalize on the Twilight craze, but ultimately wide-spread interest simply wasn't there among the film's target audience. In turn, the audience break-down for Red Riding Hood was a bit stronger than one might expect with moviegoers 25 and older (44 percent) and male moviegoers (36 percent). Red Riding Hood opened with $4.99 million on Friday, giving it an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.81 to 1. The film opened 54 percent weaker than last year's Dear John ($30.47 million) and 3 percent stronger than last year's Letters to Juliet ($13.54 million).

The news was exponentially worse for this weekend's other new release, Disney's Mars Needs Moms. The big-budget motion capture animated film opened in fifth place with a disastrous $6.91 million. The film carried a reported production budget of $150 million and also had a notable advertising campaign which even included a Super Bowl commercial. Clearly any potential the film may have once had was seriously diminished by opening one week after Rango and the same weekend as Battle: Los Angeles. Mars Needs Moms was also off to a very poor start internationally, where it grossed just $2.1 million from 14 foreign markets.

Universal's The Adjustment Bureau finished in fourth with $11.60 million. The Matt Damon vehicle was down a so-so 45 percent from its opening weekend performance. The Adjustment Bureau has grossed $38.59 million in ten days, placing it 55 percent ahead of the pace of last year's Green Zone (which fell 57 percent in its second weekend of release). The Adjustment Bureau is currently on pace for a final domestic gross in the neighborhood of $60 million.

In platform release, both Focus' Jane Eyre and Anchor Bay's Kill the Irishman were off to nice starts this weekend. Jane Eyre grossed $182,885 from 4 locations in New York and Los Angeles, giving it a strong per-location average of $45,721. Meanwhile, Kill the Irishman grossed $145,430 from 5 locations in Cleveland, New York and Los Angeles, giving it a per-location average of $29,086. Both films will expand into additional markets next weekend.

Additional reporting by Phil Contrino.

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