Horton Hears a Box Office Hit!

The stronger month of March continued with the animated family film Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who (20th Century Fox) featuring the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell grossing an estimated $45.1 million in its opening weekend in 3,945 theaters. As Carrey’s first foray into animation voicework, “Horton” became the box office star’s third-biggest opening after Bruce Almighty (also starring Carell) and his previous journey into Seussville with Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. With Easter weekend and school spring break over the next few weeks, it shouldn’t have any problem making back its $85 million production budget.

With a significant 54% drop, Roland Emmerich’s prehistoric epic 10,000 BC (Warner Bros.) took second place with $16.4 million in its second weekend, although its 10-day gross of $61.2 million is still well under the reported $105 million production budget.

New independent distributor Summit Entertainment had their first significant hit with the mixed martial arts drama Never Back Down, which opened in third place with $8.6 million in 2,729 theaters, an average of $3,166 per theater, which isn’t great but enough to make more money this weekend than the stronger returning movies.

Dropping to fourth place, the Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symoné road comedy College Road Trip (Disney) took in $7.9 million to bring its total to $24.3 million after ten days.

Fifth and sixth place were filled by the political thriller Vantage Point (Sony) with $5.4 million and Jason Statham’s crime-drama The Bank Job (Lionsgate) with $4.9 million, each holding up well from last weekend with The Bank Job being off less than 20% from its opening weekend. Vantage Point has grossed $59 million in four weeks compared to its $40 million production budget.

Neil Marshall’s third film, the apocalyptic action flick Doomsday (Universal) failed to find much of an audience, grossing just $4.7 million in its debut weekend in less than 2,000 theaters to open in seventh place.

The rest of the Top 10 grossed less than $3 million with Will Ferrell’s basketball comedy

Semi-Pro (New Line) leading the way at #8. The period romantic comedy Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams, continued to do well despite dropping one place with $1.9 million in its second weekend.

Opening in 289 theaters, the widest release ever for filmmaker Michael Haneke, his frame-by-frame remake of his own Funny Games (Warner Independent) starring Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Michael Pitt, opened with $520 thousand, but less than $1,800 per theater. The Charlize Theron-produced drama Sleepwalking (Overture Films) made just $50,000 in 30 theaters, an equally dismal per-theater average of $1,666.

For the first time in a number of months, the Top 10 grossed slightly more than the same period last year thanks to the hit family comedy.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.