'Titans' poised to dominate boxoffice

VIDEO: 3D film could earn north of $60 mil through Sunday

Easter weekend will be sweetened with yet another 3D release, with Warner Bros.' "Clash of the Titans" sending distributors scrambling like so many tykes hunting holiday eggs.

Toplined by Sam Worthington, the remake of the 1981 cult classic opens at 8 tonight in about 3,000 2D and 3D theaters. Starting on Friday, "Titans" will play in roughly 3,700 theaters, with about half showing the action fantasy on at least one 3D screen and the others playing it in 2D only.

That represents about 17% fewer 3D venues than DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon," which Paramount bowed last weekend in 2,178 3D theaters and 4,055 locations overall. But it seems enough to validate a decision by Warners just a couple months ago to convert "Titans" to 3D to exploit the format's surging popularity.

"Dragon" will boast roughly the same number of 3D venues this weekend as the previous frame, when it bowed with $43.7 million.

Some had predicted that with the March 5 debut of Disney's "Alice in Wonderland," the industry's still-limited base of 3D cinemas would prevent "Dragon" or "Titans" -- or both -- from scraping together enough extra-dimensional distribution. As it turns out, the latter two pics have come out relatively unscathed, and "Alice" has shed hundreds of extra-dimensional playdates.

First, the Tim Burton fantasy lost its 180 Imax venues to "Dragons," and now it's likely that "Titans" will play on a few hundred 3D screens that might still be playing "Alice" were "Titans" not opening this weekend. Similarly, Fox's leggy "Avatar" might enjoy twice as many playdates as its current 50-venue 3D base were it not for "Titans."

There also will be considerable splitting of showtimes on many screens between "Titans" and "Alice." But all things considered, the situation has shaken out well for the industry, Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said.

"Everybody is going to be fine," he said. "We will be covered in every major market. We're in very good shape."

Bolstering that upbeat assessment is tracking data that shows huge must-see interest in key "Titans" demos.

"It's gigantic," Fellman said. "We own males over and under 25, and we're in good shape with the females as well."

Consensus estimates suggest that "Titans" could march north of $60 million through Sunday. A roughly $125 million production, "Titans" was co-produced and co-financed by Legendary Pictures.

On Friday, Lionsgate will release Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married Too?" Tracking shows Perry's first sequel should fetch upward of $25 million, or roughly midrange if measured against previous Perry openings. "Why Did I Get Married?" bowed with $21.4 million in 2007 and finished with $55.2 million in the U.S. and Canada, and the multihyphenate's most recent outing, "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," unspooled with $23.4 million in September, en route to ringing up $51.7 million overall domestically.

Disney gets a two-day jump on the frame with a Wednesday bow for its Miley Cyrus starrer "The Last Song." The PG romantic drama should reach the teen millions for its first five days.

Easter weekend generally is a solid boxoffice session, with Good Friday strengthened by kids and some adults having the day off. But this weekend will be compared with a non-Easter frame from last year, a $155 million session topped by the $71 million bow of Universal's "Fast & Furious."
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