Weekend Box Office: Caveman Comedy ‘The Croods’ Wins the Weekend [Video]

An animated prehistoric family won the box office this weekend as “The Croods” took the number one spot.

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 film, which features the voices of Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, and Ryan Reynolds, had a budget of $135 million and received a CinemaScore of A from moviegoers.

“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.

Overseas, Croods opened to $63.3 million from 47 markets for a total global bow of $108 million. The international figure includes roughly $17 million in previews from last weekend.

Croods did especially well in Russia and key Latin American markets, including Mexico and Brazil, where it scored the top opening of all time for an original animated pic.

Following the travails of a prehistoric family, Croods is the first DWA title to be distributed by Fox via the studio’s new distribution and marketing deal with Katzenberg’s company.

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.

 “To come in at the $45 million mark, ahead of ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ which was another terrific movie from DreamWorks Animation, is a great start to the spring holiday,” Aronson said.

Daddy caveman Grug (voiced by Cage) spends a lot of time getting hit by lightning, crushed by boulders and screamed at by his mother-in-law (Cloris Leachman).

When his daughter Eep (Emma Stone) meets a cute guy named, er, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), Grug keeps him stuffed in a hollow log.

Daddy is what you might call a cultural conservative: He teaches the frustrated Eep and his wife (Catherine Keener) and son (Clark Duke) to fear everything, mainly because every other family has been killed by wild animals, war and disease.

 Failing to appreciate that Dad’s caution is the only reason she’s still alive, Eep finds Daddy lame in the tradition of every daughter since the dawn of man.

The film’s message is that you have to get out there and try bold new things, which is a strange point to make when you’re rehashing “The Flintstones” and “Ice Age”, writes the NY Post.

Heart-racing action thriller “Olympus Has Fallen” captured the No. 2 slot, hauling in $30.5 million thanks to Gerald Butler’s star turn as a Secret Service agent who saves America from North Korean terrorists, says the NY Daily News.

The one-two punch of “Croods” and “Olympus” was a shot in the arm for mega-studios, which have seen a frightening 13% plunge in ticket sales from the same period last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, a box-office tracker for Hollywood.com

“Oz: The Great and Powerful” continued its successful box office run, taking the number three spot this weekend.

Starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz, “Oz” made $22 million across 3,805 theaters. The updated “Wizard of Oz” tale has grossed $177.56 million since its Mar. 8 release.

Thriller “The Call” reached the number four spot, making $8.7 million across 2,507 theaters. The Halle Berry-led film has made $30.9 million since its release.

The new Paul Weitz specialty comedy Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, opened on the soft side, grossing $6.4 million to place No. 5.

Focus Features had hoped for slightly more but believes Admission will benefit from word of mouth among older females.

However, moviegoers only gave the film a B- CinemaScore, matching mixed reviews.

The comedy tells the story of a straitlaced Princeton University admissions officer (Fey) whose life takes an unexpected turn when she makes a recruiting trip to an alternative high school run by a former classmate (Rudd), writes Hollywood Reporter.

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