The political thriller 'Olympus Has Fallen' did better than expected, contributing to one of the industry's strongest weekends of the year.
The first big-studio cartoon of the year got off to a solid start this weekend as The Croods cruised to the top of the box office.
The animated film about a prehistoric family captured $44.7 million, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.
The debut beat analysts' projection of $39 million and gave the industry one of its strongest weekends this year as the political thriller Olympus Has Fallen also eclipsed most projections.
The Croods, featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone, flourished with canny timing: The family-friendly film opened as many students began spring break.
And the kids gave the cartoon solid marks. About 86% of moviegoers enjoyed the PG film, according to the poll site Rottentomatoes.com. Critics, too, gave a thumbs-up: 65% of reviewers recommended the movie, the site says.
The surprise of the weekend, though, may belong to Olympus, the Gerard Butler story about the takeover of the White House by terrorists. The film pulled in $30.5 million, well above the $20 million projections.
Though just 51% of critics liked the movie, a solid 79% of fans liked it, Rottentomatoes.com says.
Tim Briody of Boxofficeprophets.com calls Olympus' haul particularly impressive because it drew male moviegoers on a weekend dominated by college basketball. He says Olympus "found an audience willing to go to the movies in the face of the NCAA tournament."
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SOURCE: USA Today