“Battle: LA” also wins box office battle

Continuing to prove the effectiveness of low-budget alien flicks with extensive marketing, “Battle: Los Angeles” made $35.5 million this weekend, handily taking over the box office from “Rango.” Meanwhile, the other new aliens of the week made the bigger news: “Mars Needs Moms,” Disney’s motion-capture animated film made for more than twice the production budget of “Battle: LA,” made just $6.9 million, one of the worst openings for not only its sci-fi animated genre, but also ever for a big 3-D film in the modern era. It ranks as Disney’s third worst wide release opening all time.

  1. Battle: Los Angeles – $35.5 M (weekend) … $35.5 M (gross)
  2. Rango – $38.1 M (weekend) … $38.1 M (gross)
  3. Red Riding Hood – $14 M … $14 M
  4. The Adjustment Bureau – $11.5 M … $38.5 M
  5. Mars Needs Moms – $6.9 M … $6.9 M
  6. Beastly – $5 M … $16.9 M
  7. Hall Pass – $5 M  … $34.8 M
  8. Just Go With It  – $4 M … $94 M
  9. Gnomeo & Juliet – $3.6 M … $89.1 M
  10. The King’s Speech – $3.5 M … $129 M

The marketing for “Battle: Los Angeles” proved a drubbing from the critics (myself mostly included) would not be enough to stop a sure thing — that being an alien invasion movie with lots of destruction and rubble making money.

The “Twilight” crowd also responded with lack of enthusiasm for another film targeted at it: “Red Riding Hood” made $14 million; decidedly better than last weekend’s “Beastly” but not enough to disprove the idea that “Twilight” was/is an anomaly.

Given its release one week after “Rango” and such, “Mars Needs Moms” was expected to do below-average Disney business, but the film absolutely tanked. It won’t make more than $25 million at the box office in all likelihood, if even that much, which next to a $150-million budget not including various other expenses looks horrifying. The film will likely be out of theaters by the end of the month.

“The King’s Speech” stayed in the top ten at the expense of “Unknown” and “I Am Number Four.” The February success stories “Just Go With It” and “Gnomeo & Juliet” also stayed in the top ten as they inch toward the century mark.

Three new films enter the fold next week, but there’s no clear favorite, which will give “Battle: Los Angeles” the best chance of being 2011’s first back-to-back weekend winner.



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