Box Office: ‘Battle L.A.’ No. 1 With Strong $36M; Disney’s ‘Mars’ Disastrous at $6.8M

Daniel Frankel, The Wrap
Movie Talk

Sony's little-green-men invasion movie "Battle: Los Angeles" beat
tracking and had a solid North American debut this weekend, grossing $36
million and leading the domestic box office, according to Sunday studio

But Disney's family film "Mars Needs Moms" found no traction at the
box office, grossing just $6.8 million, one of the studio's biggest
misses in years. Produced by Robert Zemeckis at a cost of more than $150
million, the film probably won't find much solace in the foreign
market, where it debuted to only $2.1 million.

Also opening wide this weekend, Warner's "Little Red Riding Hood,"
which stars Amanda Seyfried, performed below tracking in the high-teens
range, grossing just $14.1 million.

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Among indies, Focus' remake of "Jane Eyre" grossed $182,314 opening at four theaters for a solid $45,579-per-screen average.

Here's how the top 10 shaped up. Full report continues below chart:

But the weekend's most notable performance -- or under-performance,
as the case may be -- came from "Mars Needs Moms," the last film
produced by Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital before Disney shuttered the
facility and took the write-off.

Disney executives didn't have high hopes for the CG/motion-capture
film in the weeks before it premiered, doubting it would clear $10

Unfortunately, their fears were justified.

"If we knew what went wrong, we would have tried to fix it," said
Disney worldwide theatrical distribution president Chuck Viane. "Like a
year ago, when we had 'Alice in Wonderland,' this was one of those big
films we put into spring break with the expectation that the audience
would love it."

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Those who saw it didn't exactly hate it, with the film registering a
B grade from moviegoer customer-satisfaction survey firm Cinemascore.

Having Paramount's "Rango" in the marketplace provided stiff
competition. And with "Mars Needs Moms" voice star Seth Green facing off
against "Rango's" Johnny Depp, well, you could kind of guess how that
would turn out.

In weekend two, "Rango" declined only around 40 percent to $23.1
million, giving the non-3D CG-animated film $68.7 million after two
weeks -- and perhaps dispelling the notion that 3D is a huge selling
point for family-targeted animated movies.

"The 3D on 'Mars Needs Moms' is terrific," one Disney official pointed out to TheWrap on Thursday.

Overall, the domestic box office was down only around 13 percent
from the same weekend last year, which was led by the $62.7 million
weekend-two performance of "Alice in Wonderland." The way things have
been going, that's actually not too bad.

The driver this weekend was the action-packed "Battle: L.A.," which
was predicted by its distributor to bring in around $28 million-$32
million this weekend.

Produced at a cost of $70 million after tax breaks, according to
Sony, the film also grossed $16.7 million opening in 33 overseas

Starring Aaron Eckhart as a U.S. Marine staff sergeant dealing with
hostile extra-terrestrials, who are after our water and way of life,
"Battle: L.A." also garnered a B overall Cinemascore.

The movie scored an audience that was 68 percent male and 55 percent
over the age of 25, unfortunately sustaining the box office's lack of
momentum with young adults and teenagers this year.

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As for "Red Riding Hood," the movie was itself unable to push big-enough quantities of young females into the multiplexes.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke and co-starring Gary Oldman, the
film was produced at a cost of $39 million, putting the wolf at the door
in terms of profitability.

CBS Films' "Beastly," which stood to get hurt by the demographically
similar "Red Riding Hood," actually fared well, grossing $5.1 million
while declining just under 50 percent in weekend No. 2. The film has
grossed $17 million to date, which matches its negative cost.

Among other holdovers, Universal Matt Damon film "The Adjustment
Bureau" also dropped less than 50 percent in its second weekend,
grossing $11.5 million. It's now up to $38.5 million domestically.