'Dragon' reclaims No. 1 spot

8:56 AM PST 04/25/2010 by Carl DiOrio, AP

'Back-Up Plan' comes in at No. 2; newcomer 'Losers' is No. 4

Cue the fire-breathing motion picture.

DreamWorks Animation's 3D adventure "How to Train Your Dragon" has yet to flame out in movie theaters, offering an upbeat storyline to an otherwise ho-hum boxoffice session. The Paramount-distributed pic topped domestic rankings with an estimated $15 million in its fifth weekend for $178 million in cumulative coin.

Two wide-openers offered slight competition, as CBS Films' Jennifer Lopez starrer "The Back-Up Plan" proved a mere runner-up, and Warner Bros.' action pic "The Losers" lost by more than expected. "Plan" -- about a couple who meet after the woman's artificial insemination -- procreated $12.3 million in second place; "Losers," based on a comics series about a fictional World War II fighting force, fired blanks with $9.6 million in fourth.

Disneynature's "Oceans" hauled in $6 million from a modestly wide launch in 1,206 locations. That was good for eighth place on the frame, with the documentary toting an $8.5 million cume since unspooling Thursday on Earth Day.

Fox's leggy comedy "Date Night" rung up $10.6 million to grab the weekend's bronze medal position and shape a $63.5 million cume through three frames. Lionsgate's action comedy "Kick-Ass" fell 52% in its sophomore session to fetch $9.5 million in fifth place with a $34.9 million cume, while Sony Screen Gems' comedy "Death at a Funeral" dropped 51% to $8 million in seventh with a 10-day cume of $28.4 million.

Industrywide, the limp $95 million weekend marked a 12% downtick from the same frame a year earlier.

Among notable expansions, Sony Pictures Classics' Argentine crime thriller "The Secret in Their Eyes" added 23 locations for a total 33 to gross $372,214, or an impressive $11,279 per site. Cume for Oscar's best foreign-language pic climbed to $605,022.

Anchor Bay's dramedy "City Island" added 20 theaters for a total 77 and grossed $285,000, or a sturdy $3,701 per venue. Cume for the Andy Garcia starrer hit $1.2 million.

Apparition added eight playdates for a total 18 for dramatic thriller "The Square" and grossed $41,133. That represented a thin $2,285 per engagement, as cume reached $117,116.

DreamWorks Animation marketing boss Anne Globe said "Dragon" has been bolstered in the marketplace by positive word of mouth following favorable critical reaction as well as the continuing strength of its 3D venues, which contributed 67% of its weekend boxoffice.

"We're seeing the audience broaden somewhat, with teen girls checking it out," Globe added. "But for the most part, it's been families with kids.

Imax specialty venues -- whose 3D upcharges make for the priciest "Dragon" tickets -- contributed more than 11% of the pic's weekend haul.

Directed by TV helmer Alan Poul ("Big Love"), "Plan" co-stars Alex O'Loughlin ("White Out"). The PG-13 pic drew opening audiences skewing 71% female, with 57% of patrons aged 30 or older.

"The opening was exactly where expectations were," CBS Films distribution topper Steven Friedlander said. "The picture is going to be profitable."

Produced for a cost in the "mid-30s," "Plan" should hold up well in the marketplace, like most romantic comedies, Friedlander said.

Directed by Sylvain White ("Stomp the Yard"), "Losers" boasts an ensemble cast featuring Idris Elba, Jeffrey Dean Morgan ("Taking Woodstock"), Chris Evans, Jason Patric and Zoe Saldana. Co-produced by DC Entertainment's Weed Road label and Joel Silver's Dark Castle for an estimated $32 million, the PG-13 movie attracted audiences comprised 60% of males, with 65% of patrons aged 25 or older.

Warners exec vp distribution Jeff Goldstein said patrons reacted positively to the pic in exit surveys, boding well for playability despite the soft opening.

"We think we'll get people in over the next couple of weeks and should be fine," Goldstein said. "It should have a good life in home video, too."

"Oceans" is the second film released from Disneynature. The pic played 58% female, with 47% of support coming from family moviegoers.

"Our little documentary did fine," Disney distribution boss Chuck Viane said.

Disney pledged to use a portion of first-week "Oceans" coin to help safeguard portions of the Bahamas' marine protected area. Based on four days of receipts, those efforts will support the oceanic equivalent of more than 30 Disneyland theme parks, the studio said.

Looking ahead, two wide-openers are set for the final spring boxoffice session. Summit Entertainment will bow the family comedy "Furry Vengeance" on Friday, while Warners debuts its remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
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