Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 03-18-13

Adrianne Palicki from “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”

Adrianne Palicki from “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”

DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox’s PG rated 3D animated prehistoric comedy adventure, “The Croods”

DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox’s PG rated 3D animated prehistoric comedy adventure, “The Croods”

“Olympus Has Fallen” – In theaters March 22nd

“Olympus Has Fallen” – In theaters March 22nd

Mighty March: Even without any of those four-day holiday weekends that Hollywood loves, March is still a mighty month at the boxoffice.

Right now, in fact, March is sizzling hot thanks to Walt Disney Pictures and Roth Films’ 3D fantasy adventure “Oz The Great & Powerful.” After topping the boxoffice its first two weekends, “Oz” has already grossed $145 million and is holding up amazingly well.

“Oz’s” $79.1 million opening Mar. 8 ranks as the third biggest March opening ever – after Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games’” $152.5 million launch Mar. 23, 2012 and the $116.1 million kick-off Mar. 5, 2010 for “Alice in Wonderland.” “Alice,” like “Oz,” was from Disney and Roth Films and Joe Roth was a producer of both blockbusters.

Just based on “Oz’s” boxoffice impact, this March is already a winter winner for Hollywood. But tracking reports show two action films on deck that are already scoring double digit overall first choice scores and a third movie targeted to families that could also perform well. This could all add up to a March that goes into the record books.

DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox’s PG rated 3D animated prehistoric comedy adventure “The Croods,” opening this weekend at nearly 4,000 theatres, is the family film that could help keep mid-March’s multiplex momentum going.

Directed by Kick De Micco (“Space Chimps”) and Chris Sanders (“How to Train Your Dragon”), it stars the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone.

“Croods” is tracking best with women under-25 and nearly as well with women over-25. That’s good news because it means moms-with-kids have “Croods” on their moviegoing radar.

“Croods” is DreamWorks Animation’s first release through Fox, which is giving it the kind of full scale marketing and distribution push that often translates into boxoffice success.

The Story: The world’s original family begins the journey of a lifetime when the cave that’s always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, what the Croods find is an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures that changes their outlook forever.

This weekend also sees the arrival at over 3,000 theatres of an action thriller that’s been tracking in impressive double digits. Film District’s R rated “Olympus Has Fallen” from Nu Image and Millennium Films is directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) and stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman. It’s tracking best with 25-plus males and almost as well with men under 25.

The Story: The White House – called “Olympus” by the Secret Service – is captured by a terrorist mastermind who kidnaps the President. Mike Banning (Butler), a disgraced former Presidential guard, is trapped within the building. With the national security team scrambling to respond, they must rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger disaster.

March should end on a strong note thanks to Paramount Pictures, MGM and Hasbro’s PG-13 rated 3D sci-fi action adventure “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” opening Th., Mar. 28. Directed by Jon Chu (“Step Up 3D”), it stars Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson.

“Retaliation’s” tracking solidly with double-digit overall first choice scores. It’s tracking through the roof with under-25 men and is also tracking really well with men over 25. By launching the film on Thursday instead of Friday, Paramount’s creating a four day weekend to benefit from Fri., Mar. 29 being Good Friday and Sun., Mar. 31 being Easter Sunday.

The Story: When the G.I. Joes are framed for crimes they’re terminated by Presidential order. The team’s surviving members retaliate against the villainous Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) and the world leaders under his influence.

The franchise’s first film, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” opened Aug. 7, 2009 via Paramount to $54.7 million and went on to gross $150.2 million in domestic theatres. “Retaliation” was to have opened last year during the over-crowded summer, but Paramount was smart to move it ahead to late March, where it’s now got a wide open track at the boxoffice.

Looking back at how March has fared over the last five years, here’s a snapshot of the month’s biggest openings and how they performed in domestic theatres:

MARCH 2012: A memorable March for ticket sales. “The Hunger Games” opened Mar. 23 to $152.5 million and wound up grossing $408 million. “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” opened Mar. 2 to $70.2 million and did $214 million.

MARCH 2011: A March that was more lamb than lion. “Rango” opened Mar. 4 to $38.1 million and ended up grossing $123.5 million. “Battle: Los Angeles” kicked off Mar. 11 to $35.6 million and took in $83.6 million.

MARCH 2010: Definitely a March to remember. “Alice in Wonderland” arrived Mar. 5 to $116.1 million and went all the way to $334.2 million. “How to Train Your Dragon” debuted Mar. 26 to $43.7 million and took in $217.6 million.

MARCH 2009: An okay but not spectacular March. “Monsters vs. Aliens” premiered Mar. 27 to $59.3 million and wound up grossing $198.4 million. “Watchmen” opened Mar. 6 to $55.2 million and did $107.5 million domestically.

MARCH 2008: The March boxoffice winds weren’t blowing too strongly. “Dr. Seuss” Horton Hears a Who” arrived Mar. 14 to $45 million and wound up doing $154.5 million. “10,000 B.C.” opened Mar. 7 to $35.9 million and took in $94.8 million domestically.

Bottom line: Hollywood’s favorite color is St. Patrick’s Day green and there’s plenty of it at the March boxoffice.