300 Rise of an Empire crushes competition with 45 million besting Peabody and Sherman; Stuart Snyder set to leave Cartoon Network at the end of March as new management begins soon; Boomerang’s new look set for late Fall

 

The Spartans attack the box office front! I’m Realistic Fish Head. The Spartan fleet set a frontal assault on Friday and attacked the box office with much better early gains than the previous film 300. Fresh off 7 Oscar wins of their sci-fi film Gravity, Warner Bros. is poised to top off another year of box office gains. DreamWorks hasn’t fared much better since their animated film Turbo lost 35 million due in part to their timing last summer. Their newest animated movie Peabody and Sherman has been through a lot of delays since scheduling conflicts prevented upcoming movies to battle for the box office crown. Last week, analysts voiced their concern that Peabody and Sherman could be worse off than Turbo. Did movie goers prove them wrong Gene?

 

 

Gene:

 

300: Rise of an Empire led the way comfortably this weekend with an estimated first place debut of $45.05 million. Despite a gap of seven years between it and 2007’s 300; the 3D action sequel was off to a healthy start this weekend, as moving the film away from last summer clearly paid off. Rise of an Empire wasn’t expected to open anywhere near the $70.89 million start of 300, but was able to open an impressive 35 percent stronger than the $33.46 million debut of 2012’s Wrath of the Titans. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, 300: Rise of an Empire claimed the tenth largest opening weekend ever for the month of March and the second largest opening weekend of 2014 to date (behind only fellow Warner Bros. release The LEGO Movie).

300: Rise of an Empire took in $17.58 million on Friday (which included an estimated $3.3 million from midnight shows), fell 8 percent on Saturday to take in $16.20 million and is estimated to fall 30 percent on Sunday to take in $11.28 million. That placed the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.56 to 1. Somewhat surprisingly, Rise of an Empire was slightly more back-loaded than 300 was (which had an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.52 to 1). The film did receive a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, which isn’t the greatest sign going forward, especially for a film with a sizable built-in fanbase.

300: Rise of an Empire took in an estimated $6.80 million from 342 IMAX locations. That represented 15 percent of the film’s total gross this weekend. The film also received a significant boost from higher priced 3D admissions, as 3D grosses accounted for 63 percent of the film’s overall grosses.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman debuted with a respectable estimated second place take of $32.5 million. The 3D computer animated film from Fox and DreamWorks Animation opened on the lower end of expectations. Mr. Peabody & Sherman debuted 25.5 percent below the $43.64 million start of last year’s The Croods and 7 percent ahead of the $30.30 million start of 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. There is little doubt that initial demand for the film was softened at least somewhat by the recent success of both Disney’s Frozen and Warner’s The LEGO Movie. Being an adaptation of 1960s animated television characters likely limited the film’s potential a bit to begin with as well.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman opened with $8.00 million on Friday, increased a strong 81 percent on Saturday to take in $14.45 million and is estimated to fall 30 percent on Sunday to take in $10.05 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 4.06 to 1. That indicates that the film is skewing very heavily towards family audiences and is an early good sign for the film going forward (especially since some schools were out on Friday for Spring Break this week). Mr. Peabody & Sherman received a promising A rating on CinemaScore.

Universal’s Non-Stop was down two spots and 47 percent this weekend to place in third with an estimated $15.4 million. That represented a respectable second weekend hold for the action thriller starring Liam Neeson, especially given the new direct competition the film faced from 300: Rise of an Empire. Non-Stop continues to perform on the very high end of expectations with a ten-day start of $52.14 million. That places the film 21 percent ahead of the $42.98 million ten-day take of 2011’s Unknown.

The LEGO Movie placed in fourth with an estimated $11.0 million. Warner’s 3D computer animated blockbuster was down a sizable 47 percent from last weekend, but the decline was understandable with both 300: Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody & Sherman entering the marketplace this weekend. The LEGO Movie has grossed a very impressive $224.97 million in 31 days and is highly likely to re-stabilize next weekend.

Fox’s Son of God rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $10.0 million. The modestly budgeted biblical epic was down three spots and a sharp 61 percent from last weekend. There is no doubt that last weekend’s performance was significantly inflated by strong group sales and the film likely also took a hit from 300: Rise of an Empire as well this weekend. Despite this weekend’s decline, Son of God is still performing strong with a ten-day take of $41.49 million. With its initial rush-out behind it, the film will hope to hold up better going forward, especially as Easter approaches.

 

To recap, 300 Rise of an Empire attacks on all fronts 1st, Peabody and Sherman time travels 2nd, as family movie goers make their promise for the duo to make good time this week, Non-Stop drops 3rd as the Sparta gain the upper hand, The Lego Movie rebounds 4th as they gain an monthly advantage over Sparta and Peabody, and Son of God drops 5th as it take a beating from The Lego Heroes, Peabody, and Sparta to force a 61% decline.

 

Big changes are coming soon at Cartoon Network Studios as Stuart Snyder the current pres. of the network is leaving March 31st as rearrangements are set to take hold. Meanwhile at Boomerang, changes were set to be made, but Adult Swim got to them first. What does this mean for Turner’s Big 3 Dan?

 

Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer of Time Warner’s Turner Animation unit, is resigning at the end of the month, according to the LA Times.

Snyder has been in charge of Cartoon Network for six years now, and his exit is due to the new management at Time Warner and Turner. Apparently, Snyder did not get along with David Levy, Turner’s head of sales and distribution, who was named president in January.

In an email to his staff, Levy said that “this is an opportunity for fresh thinking.”

WorldScreen spoke with Snyder last month, before the announcement of his departure, about the network and included some new insights into the Boomerang rebranding.

He said last year, Cartoon Network “started thinking about everything that is going on in the marketplace and it makes a lot of sense for Boomerang to be fully embraced as a family co-viewing network.”

As for the timing of the rebrand? “We are looking at a re-branding that will take place in the fourth quarter of 2014 and we are very excited about it.”

This is news, as many assumed the rebrand would take place at the end of March, to coincide with Adult Swim taking the 8pm hour on Cartoon Network. That is not so.

Also, the new Boomerang will also target younger audiences, girls and families, unlike the boy-skewing Cartoon Network.

However, given that Cartoon Network will experience a regime change soon, any future plans for both Boomerang and Cartoon Network could likely be re-evaluated by the new management.

 

Checking the Penguins tally as we enter week 14 of the Kung Fu/ Monster Saturday afternoon swap, an even 2,200 fans sign in as word gets around from possible changes from Nick Studios’ rival that could change between now and this year’s KCA’s.

 

 

This just in, due to Daylight Savings changes, new episodes of Regular Show, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Uncle Grandpa, and Annoying Orange are working later than expected! Be sure to see them Monday night so you can get caught up. This is Realistic Fish Head saying, spring forward for some animated action!

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