It was a weekend of firsts at the box office.
The No. 1 spot went to the first cave-man family in
The 3-D animated family film beat out the competition, grossing a solid $44.7 million, according to an estimate from distributor
But even the release of four new movies couldn't help lift box office ticket sales. The 2013 slump continued, as receipts are down 13% compared with last year, and attendance is off 14%, according to Hollywood.com. The combined gross of all of this weekend's releases — $139.5 million — doesn't even add up to the $152.5-million opening gross of
Those who saw "The Croods" this weekend liked it a lot, assigning the film an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That's good news for the $135-million
Jeffrey Katzenberg's company is in need of a success story after taking a $87-million write-down on its last release, November's
Despite its mediocre reviews "Olympus Has Fallen" resonated with moviegoers, as the opening-weekend crowd gave the film an A- grade. The R-rated movie over-performed at the box office largely because older males turned out in force — roughly 73% of the audience was over the age of 25.
The film's opening is the highest ever for Graham King's FilmDistrict, whose biggest success since launching three years ago has been
But "Olympus Has Fallen," which stars Butler as a disgraced
Butler, 43, was badly in need of a good opening. The actor — who also produced "Olympus" — has recently appeared in a string of box-office bombs, including last year's sports-themed "Playing for Keeps" and "Chasing Mavericks" — neither of which ended up with even $15 million in ticket sales. The actor, who rose to fame in the sword-and-sandals epic "300," tends to do well with commercial action films — in 2009, his
"I think this confirms his status as an action star," said Jim Orr, FilmDistrict's president of distribution. "Often women were grading the film as high as men — and that no doubt has something to do with Mr. Butler."
Both critics and audiences disliked "Admission," which stars Fey as a college admissions counselor on a mission to help a high-schooler get accepted to university. The movie was the worst reviewed of any of the weekend's new releases and also notched the lowest CinemaScore — a B-.
The film is the first major disappointment for the former
"I really don't think it's her. She's really a very popular woman," said Focus' domestic distribution president Jack Foley. "There were some really negative reviews out there, and I think that was a challenge for us. It's clearly a disappointing opening and discouraging all the way around."
As for "Spring Breakers," the