How to Train Your Dragon still soaring at the US box office

2019-03-04 10:48
A scene in the film How to Train Your Dragon: The

Los Angeles — How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World topped the North American box office for a second week, but close on its tail was Tyler Perry's final instalment of the Madea franchise. Driven by a largely female audience, A Madea Family Funeral had a better-than-expected debut.

The third instalment in the How To Train Your Dragon series grossed an estimated $30m this weekend according to Universal Pictures on Sunday, bringing its domestic total just shy of $100m. Worldwide, the DreamWorks Animation film has made over $375m. In China alone it opened in first place with $33.4m.

A Madea Family Funeral took second place at the domestic box office with an estimated $27m, a third best for the 15-year-old franchise. The Madea films have never been all that popular with critics — this one splattered out with a 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — but audiences have never seemed to care. This time around the audience, which was 67 percent female and 78 percent over the age of 25, gave the film a solid A- CinemaScore.

"That character just resonates," said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "These films are absolutely critic proof. The audience has spoken and they love Madea and they're saying goodbye."

Further down the charts, the Neil Jordan stalker-thriller Greta, starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz, opened in eighth place to a mediocre $4.6m.

"Greta was just another newcomer released in 2019 that had a rough go in a slow marketplace," Dergarabedian said. "This might have benefited from a platform release given the subject matter and the cast."

The acclaimed documentary Apollo 11 also opened on 120 IMAX screens to $1.65m.

Many people, however, used this weekend to catch-up with the big winners at the Oscars, which took place last Sunday.

Best-picture winner Green Book got the biggest post-Oscars bump, adding $4.71m over the weekend from theatres. To date, Green Book has earned $75.2m in North America and $188m worldwide.

The Universal-distributed film from Participant Media more than doubled its theatre count to 2,641 theatres and broke into the top 5 in its 16th weekend, not to mention the fact that it's also available to rent on the small screen too.

For comparison, last year's best picture winner The Shape of Water added $2.3m on the weekend following the Academy Awards, although that was playing in about 1 000 fewer theatres.

Green Book wasn't the only award-winner adding profits this weekend. Best Animated Feature winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse banked an additional $2.1m, the encore version of A Star Is Born with 12 additional minutes of footage added $1.9m, Bohemian Rhapsody earned $975 000 and The Favourite took in $825 000.

"People wonder why studios spend millions on Oscar campaigns: They're getting a nice boost and adding money even while they're available on the small screen," Dergarabedian said.

But overall the box office continues to struggle industry-wide. Both the year and the weekend are down 26 percent, in part due to the fact that there hasn't been any film comparable to Black Panther, which accounted for the stellar early-year numbers in 2018.

Marvel is coming back to save the day yet again, however: Captain Marvel opens nationwide next weekend.

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