In another blow for Sony, Smurfs: The Lost Village bombed in its North American debut over the weekend with an estimated $14 million from 3,610 theaters, one of the worst starts in recent memory for an animated offering from a major Hollywood studio.
Smurfs 3 was undone by a pair of hearty family holdovers, DreamWorks Animation/Fox's The Boss Baby and Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Boss Baby - voiced by Alec Baldwin, who is making headlines for his impersonation of President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live and his new book - stayed atop the chart in its second weekend, falling 48 percent to $26.3 million for a pleasing domestic total of $89.4 million. The movie also bossed around Smurfs overseas, collecting $37.5 million from 46 markets for a foreign tally of $110.4 million and a cume just shy of $200 million worldwide.
Now in its fourth weekend, Beauty and the Beast followed at No. 2 in North America with $25 million for a domestic tally of $432.3 million. The live-action fairy tale is days away from topping the $1 billion worldwide mark after finishing Sunday with a dazzling global haul of $977.4 million. Beauty is winding down its run internationally, where it earned $36.1 million for the weekend.
Smurfs: The Lost Village, which bowed at No. 3 domestically, was intended to reinvigorate the franchise after Smurfs 2 earned $347.5 million worldwide in 2013, which was far less than the $563.7 million scored by The Smurfs in 2011 (the first two titles were CGI/live-action hybrids).
Lost Village, costing a relatively modest $60 million to make, will have to do big business overseas if Sony is to get its wish and make more installments. So far, the pic is having a tough time offshore, where it took in another $22 million from 58 markets over the weekend for a foreign cume of $42.1 million and $56.1 million globally (it opened early internationally).
Sony maintains that Lost Village, which nabbed an A CinemaScore, can still find its way and serve as counter-programming to goliath The Fate of the Furious, which is set to launch Friday over Easter weekend.
"[Lost Village] opened in a realm that was acceptable to us," said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. "Between an A+ CinemaScore from those under 18 and heading into Easter week, we think it has real opportunity. The movie was made for less than half the last one, and we anticipate it being profitable."
The new Smurfs installment centers on a mysterious map that sets Smurfette (Demi Lovato) and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on a race through the Forbidden Forest, leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history. Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello and Jack McBrayer are among the voice cast and Kelly Asbury (Gnomeo & Juliet) directed.
In a surprise twist, Village Roadshow and Warner Bros.' Going in Style - catering to the elderly set - came in well ahead of expectations with a $12.5 million bow at No. 4. More than 70 percent of the audience was over the age of 50.
Directed by Zach Braff, the $25 million movie, which received a B+ CinemaScore. is a remake of the 1979 heist film and stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as three retirees who decide to rob a bank when their pensions go belly-up. Ann-Margret and Matt Dillon also star in the pic, which had been expected to open to only $8 million.
"The chemistry between these actors is incredible," said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at New Line parent studio Warner Bros.
The weekend's third new nationwide offering, Pure Flix Films' The Case for Christ, placed No. 10 with just $3.9 million. The faith-based drama tells the real-life story of a self-avowed atheist and journalist who sets out to disprove his wife's newfound Christian faith. The movie, which earned an A+ CinemaScore, stars Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Paramount's troubled Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson and based on the popular Japanese manga series, tumbled 61 percent in its second weekend to $7.4 million for a disappointing 10-day domestic tally of $31.6 million.
The sci-fi action pic, which has been dogged by controversy for not casting an Asian star in the central role, is faring better overseas, where it topped the foreign chart with $41.1 million from 54 markets after opening to $21.4 million in China. That puts the movie's foreign tally at $92.5 million for a global cume of $124.1 million, still not enough considering Ghost in the Shell cost $110 million to make before marketing.
And despite a major marketing push in Japan, the film opened in second place with $3.2 million.
At the specialty box office, Niki Caro's The Zookeeper's Wife expanded into a total of 804 theaters after a limited debut last weekend. The Focus Features war drama, starring Jessica Chastain, grossed a muted $2.9 million for a 10-day domestic total of $7.6 million.
Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway as a woman who battles a Godzilla-like creature in South Korea, opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $125,809 for a screen average of $31,452, the best of the weekend. The independent film marks the first release from Neon, the distribution company launched by former Radius-TWC co-chief Tomas Quinn and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League.
Fox Searchlight opted for a bigger footprint for Gifted, directed by Marc Webb and starring Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace and Octavia Spencer. Rolling out in 56 locations, the drama opened to $476,000.
EuropaCorp and STX Entertainment's critically acclaimed British romantic comedy Their Finest, starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy, debuted to $77,000 from four theaters in L.A. and New York for a screen average of $19,250.