Weekend Box Office: ‘Cinderella’ Crushed Liam Neeson And Opened Bigger Than ‘Thor’

I stupidly chose Run All Night over Cinderella when the press screenings were scheduled head to head last week, but the comparative lines should’ve told me everything I needed to know (out the door for Cinderella, non-existent for Run All Night). So it was that Cinderella took an estimated $132 million in worldwide box office this weekend, including close to $70 million domestic and a record-breaking $25 million in China, while Run All Night managed just $11 million on a $50 million budget, the worst of any of Liam Neeson’s Taken-style action movies.

We won’t know until actual numbers are released tomorrow, but estimates currently show Cinderella ahead of Maleficent‘s $69.4 opening in May 2014, a hell of a feat considering Cinderella opened in March and didn’t have the benefit of premium-priced 3D or a big star in the lead. But it was directed by Kenneth Branagh (and written by About A Boy‘s Chris Weitz, oddly enough), a man who knows a little something about sumptuous fairy tale costume dramas. It was Branagh’s highest-opening film to date, another impressive feat, considering dude directed Thor ($65.7 million opening in May 2011).

Overseas, Cinderella launched in 60 percent of the international marketplace, grossing $62.4 million (it has a number of major territories yet to open). In China, it is the highest March opening of all time despite not being in 3D. And Russia, another big 3D market, was equally impressive with $7.3 million.

In North America, Cinderella earned an A CinemaScore. On Friday, 77 percent of the audience was female but that shifted to 66 percent on Saturday and Sunday, indicating that dads, boyfriends and husbands turned out in force. Overall, families made up 66 percent of the audience, followed by adults (26 percent) and teens (8 percent). And a full 31 percent of those showing up were under the age of 12. On the other end of the spectrum, 9 percent were 50 and older. [HollywoodReporter]

They call that “hitting all four quadrants.” Disney cast stars of Downton Abbey and Game of the Thrones in the leads and stuck a Frozen short in front of it, which was marketing brilliance. And the film received a strong 83% recommended rating from critics, so it looks like things worked out on all fronts. It’s always nice to see a giant evil corporation make good.

Meanwhile, no one saw Run All Night, a film about Liam Neeson and Ed Harris growling at each other and shooting. This despite a pretty decent A- Cinemascore. Amazingly, the audience was 52% female (and 82% over 25). I’m going to assume that was the Ed Harris Bump. Ladies love Ed Harris.

“That’s what we’ll have to figure out Monday morning, why more men didn’t turn out,” said Warner domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman. “Overall, I wish we would have done a little better but we had great exit scores, so I am hoping we will have legs.” [HollywoodReporter]

You don’t know? Jeez, bro, is this your first spin doctoring? Say there was bad weather. Good basketball games. Early St. Paddy’s pub crawls. A UFC card. A solar flare. It’s not like anyone’s going to ask for statistics, you can just make stuff up. But definitely don’t say “we’re hoping it will have legs” because you’re just going to look like a jackass next week when it drops 50%.

Speaking of next week, this Friday brings us The Divergent Series: Insurgent (I never even got a press screening invite), It Follows (SEE THIS MOVIE!) expanding to more theaters, Do You Believe? (the Christian Crash) hits select theaters, and The Gunman opens wide. I’m interested to see how that one does. Because if Liam Neeson can’t even make money on a Liam Neeson movie, I doubt Sean Penn is going to make money in a Liam Neeson movie. “We’ve replaced their lovable Irishman with a dour cigarette machine. Let’s see if they notice!”

But time will tell. You know what I would’ve liked to see? Sean Penn starring in The Gunman wearing his outfit from This Must Be The Place.