"Dragon" knocks "Alice" off top box office perch

Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:22pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Animated 3-D family movie "How to Train Your Dragon" slayed audiences this weekend, ousting "Alice in Wonderland" from its three-week run at the top of the North American box office in another strong showing for the 3-D format.

The DreamWorks Animation 3-D movie about a hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons collected $43.3 million during the three days beginning on Friday, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

But despite heavy promotion and glowing reviews, "Dragon's" opening fell short of the studio's "Monsters Vs. Aliens" 3-D adventure a year ago, which brought in $59.3 million on its opening weekend. "Dragon" cost a reported $165 million to produce, according to website BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Walt Disney Co's psychedelic adventure "Alice in Wonderland" was pushed into second place with $17.3 million, while raunchy new comedy release from MGM, "Hot Tub Time Machine," starring John Cusack, earned $13.6 million for third.

"How to Train Your Dragon" was the third box office hit for a 3-D movie after "Alice" and record-breaking sci-fi fantasy "Avatar."

Paul Dergarabedian of box office tracker Hollywood.com noted that 3-D movies have led the weekend box office in North America for nine of the 13 weekends of 2010.

Some 68 percent of "Dragon" ticket sales came from more expensive 3-D and Imax screenings, the studio said.

DreamWorks hopes the computer-animated movie will enjoy a strong run through the upcoming spring break holiday for school kids. Audiences were split almost evenly between those under 25 and older movie-goers.   Continued...