Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'The Croods,' 'Olympus Has Fallen' Open Strong at Box Office

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'The Croods,' 'Olympus Has Fallen' Open Strong at Box Office

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES -- The caveman comedy "The Croods" left an indelible mark on the wall, opening at No. 1 with $44.7 million, according to Sunday studio estimates.

The 3-D adventure from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox features a voice cast including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Catherine Keener. They play a prehistoric family encountering danger and strange new creatures when they're forced to find a new cave.

Opening strongly in second place with $30.5 million was "Olympus Has Fallen," an action thriller from "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua in which North Korean terrorists take over the White House. Gerard Butler, as a secret service agent, leads an all-star cast that includes Aaron Eckhart as the president, Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett.

"The Croods" has now made $108 million worldwide. In the United States, it's the only game in town as far as animated films for the whole family, and it will continue to be so as kids head out of school for spring break over the next couple of weeks.

"It's a terrific crowd-pleaser, it got an A CinemaScore and an A- plus with audiences under 18, which leads me to believe a lot of kids loved the movie," said Anne Globe, chief marketing officer for DreamWorks Animation.

Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, said "The Croods" had a stronger opening than the $40 million the studio had projected.

"Olympus Has Fallen" also opened higher than expectations -- much higher -- given that FilmDistrict figured it would end up somewhere in the under-$20 million range, president of distribution Jim Orr said. This is by far the biggest debut for the independent distributor, which was just founded in September 2010; the previous best was the $14.3 million the "Red Dawn" remake made over last year's Thanksgiving weekend.

"Millennium Films and Antoine Fuqua delivered a brilliant, action- packed, serious thriller with an all-star cast led by Gerard Butler, and the word of mouth seems to be terrific," Mr. …

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