"10,000 BC" a mammoth at worldwide box office

Sun Mar 9, 2008 1:43pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "10,000 BC," a widely ridiculed prehistoric action movie boasting a menagerie of exotic beasts, trampled the competition at box offices around the world.

According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, the Warner Bros. Pictures release sold $61 million worth of tickets during its first weekend.

The North American contribution was $35.7 million from 3,410 theaters, an easy No. 1 ahead of fellow rookie "College Road Trip" with $14 million.

The North American opening was "right on target," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic theatrical distribution at the Time Warner Inc-owned studio. Pundits had expected an opening in the $30 million to $40 million range.

The film, which Fellman said cost "slightly north" of $100 million to make, was almost unanimously ripped by critics. USA Today described it as a "bombastic bore" and The New York Times as "sublimely dunderheaded."

Newcomer Steven Strait stars as a mammoth hunter who battles a horde of slave-traders. Gargantuan birds and saber-tooth tigers add to the intrigue. The film was directed by Roland Emmerich, the German auteur behind such hits as "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow."

"10,000 BC" also opened at No. 1 in 19 of 20 territories, picking up a total of $25.3 million. Top markets included Spain ($4.5 million) and Mexico ($3.8 million). It opens in Italy and the United Kingdom on Friday.

The Walt Disney Co broad comedy "College Road Trip," which also appalled critics, stars Martin Lawrence as the overprotective father of a college freshman played by Raven-Symone. The film played in 2,706 theaters across the United States and Canada.

Critics did love one new release but moviegoers were less enthused. The heist thriller "The Bank Job" opened at No. 5 with a modest $5.7 million from 1,603 theaters. The film, based on the 1971 robbery of a Lloyds bank in London, stars Jason Statham. It was released by Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.   Continued...

<p>Steven Strait in a scene from "10,000 B.C." The prehistoric action movie boasting a menagerie of exotic beasts trampled the competition at the weekend box office in North America. REUTERSWarner Bros. Pictures/Handout</p>