B.O. Roundup, March 13-15: 'Cinderella' Enchants with a Whopping $70 Million Debut

Sunday, 15 March 2015 09:19 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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B.O. Roundup, March 13-15: 'Cinderella' Enchants with a Whopping $70 Million Debut

Disney's enchanted pumpkin carriage ride continues.

The studio's latest lavish, live-action remake of a classic animated fairy tale had the magic touch at the box office this weekend, sliding on a glass slipper worth an enchanting $70 million.

That's how much the Kenneth Branagh-directed romance is estimated to have earned from 3,845 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, making it the number one movie in North America by a margin of damn near $60 million.

The $70 million haul makes Cinderella the fifth-biggest March opener in the record books, behind The Hunger Games and fellow Disney rejiggerings Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful, as well as 300.  It also zipped past Disney's last fairy tale revamp, Maleficent, which opened to the tune of $69.4 million.

And unlike its aforementioned Disney brethren, Cinderella lacked a 3D surcharge to help it arrive at its big opening weekend number.  It also lacked the star power of those films, since Lily James, who plays Ella in this critically acclaimed version, isn't exactly a household name like, say, Angelina Jolie

Cinderella did have something Maleficent didn't, however: Frozen Fever, a short film follow-up to Frozen, the biggest animated movie of all time.  The short, which preceded Cinderella in theaters, must have boosted the fairy tale's commercial appeal, helping to push its box office well beyond the $60 million Disney was projecting for Cindy's debut weekend.

Run All Night wasn't exactly sprinting in theaters, coming in a distant second place with an estimated $11.5 million from 3,171 North American theaters.  That's short of the $15 million distributor Warner Bros. was expecting from the latest Liam Neeson actioner, this one co-starring Ed Harris, Common, and Joel Kinnaman.

Neeson has been on a magnificent run as a later-in-life action star over the last seven years, starting with Taken.  The last entry in that franchise, January's Tak3n, showed that there's still some gas left in Neeson's action-tank, but Run All Night suggests it might just be getting down to fumes. 

Neeson's last collaborator with Run All Night director Jaume Collet-Serra, Non-Stop, opened to $28.8 million last February, so based on this weekend's showing, audiences may be getting tired of watching a grizzled Neeson pistol-whipping everybody in sight.

That's it for new releases.  Last week's top robot, Chappie, took a tumble all the way down to fifth place, while Kingsman: The Secret Service remained pretty steady in third place, bringing its total to well above $100 million despite never reaching first place, making it something of a modern sleeper hit.  After dropping out of the top ten last weekend, 2014's biggest movie, American Sniper, hopped back onto the chart at number nine.

Thanks in no small part to Cinderella, overall box office was up 16% from the same weekend last year, when Mr. Peabody & Sherman dominated.

Check out the top ten movies in North America and their estimated hauls below:

1. Cinderella.....................................................................................$70.0 million...............New Release

2. Run All Night................................................................................$11.5 million...............New Release

3. Kingsman: The Secret Service...................................................$6.2 million.................$107.3 million

4. Focus............................................................................................$5.8 million.................$44.0 million

5. Chappie........................................................................................$5.8 million.................$23.3 million

6. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel....................................$5.7 million.................$18.0 million

7. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water..........................$4.1 million.................$154.6 million

8. McFarland, USA...........................................................................$3.6 million.................$34.9 million

9. American Sniper..........................................................................$2.9 million.................$341.5 million

10. The DUFF....................................................................................$2.9 million.................$30.3 million

The upward trend is likely to continue next weekend.  Cinderella is well-reviewed enough that we can expect tremendous word of mouth and an accompanying solid hold.  YA franchise sequel Insurgent, meanwhile, is expected to open bigger than its predecessor, so it might just be able to unseat Cinderella atop the heap.

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