Ice Age 4 tops box office in US
Ice Age: Continental Drift and its prehistoric critters have topped the US box office, earning 46 million dollars in their opening weekend, according to studio estimates.
The animated film from 20th Century Fox is the fourth in the Ice Age series and the first in 3D. The North American performance of Continental Drift was on par with previous Ice Age movies but well below the opening weekend of the second instalment, The Meltdown, which opened with 68 million dollars in 2006.
There has now been a decade of Ice Age films, allowing the characters voiced by Ray Romano, Queen Latifah and John Leguizamo to become increasingly familiar to audiences, particularly international ones.
The film had already done robust overseas business ahead of opening in the US. This weekend it earned 95 million dollars internationally, bringing its overseas total to 339 million.
"Scrat rules the world," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for Fox, referring to the films' rat-squirrel mascot, whose wordless, futile pursuit of a nut is a mainstay of the movies.
The Ice Age franchise has now surpassed 2.2 billion dollars worldwide, and the studio expects Continental Drift to equal the global total of the last instalment, 2009's Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which took in 886.7 million.
"There's really not very many animated franchises that have had three sequels," said Aronson. "The performance of Ice Age has been remarkably consistent."
The weekend was inevitably shadowed by two superheroes, coming a week after the debut of Sony's Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, and one week before the highly-anticipated Batman sequel, The Dark Knight Rises.
In its second week of release, Spider-Man earned 35 million dollars, pushing it past 200 million in North America. It earned nearly 67 million overseas over the weekend, bringing its worldwide gross to 521.4 million dollars.
Seth MacFarlane's R-rated comedy hit, Ted, which stars Mark Wahlberg and a talking teddy bear, added 22.1 million dollars in its third week for a total of 159 million for Universal Pictures.