Girls young and old showed up for a Cinderella story this weekend, as Disney’s live-action version of the story had one of the biggest March openings ever, taking in $70.1 million. That is slightly ahead of Maleficent‘s start from last May ($69.4 million), although a bit behind fellow Disney March release Oz the Great and Powerful ($79.1 million). Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation has received good reviews and an A CinemaScore, which bodes well for healthy grosses over the March Break. Due to many kids being out of school on Monday, Disney is predicting a smaller-than-usual 26% drop from Saturday to Sunday.
Even without a major headlining star – Cate Blanchett did not get that much screen time in ads and is not a noted box office performer – Cinderella still had a strong start, even without the benefit of 3D surcharges. Undoubtedly, there was a rush to see the Frozen short film preceding the feature presentation, which made it easier to get children and their parents to hand their money over. Curiously, the PG-rated film only had an 18% jump from Friday to Saturday, indicating that it does not have the same family appeal as other kid-aimed titles that jump closer to 50% on their second day. Still, the film should perform very well, even as Insurgent and Home provide some competition over the next few weeks.
While Cinderella danced all night, the newest Liam Neeson thriller, Run All Night, had one of the actor’s poorest openings in recent memory. The R-rated Warner Bros. actioner could not overcome a muddled marketing effort and lack of overall anticipation and only mustered up $11 million to take second place. That is lower than Neeson’s prior, adult-skewing thriller, A Walk Among the Tombstones ($12.8 million) and even John Wick ($14.4 million), both from the past fall. On the bright side, it did make more initially than The Next Three Days ($6.5 million), among comparable Neeson titles.
Perhaps with three similarly advertised action thrillers with Neeson coming out within half a year, the action star is seeing some burnout in audience demand. The film did have a lot of appeal among moviegoers over 25 though, which took up a reported 85% of crowds, so the film could have decent legs over the next few weeks. However, this weak start does not bode well for another thriller starting an aging star, The Gunman, which opens on Friday.