The news isn't that DreamWork Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens topped the box office this weekend–that was a done deal the day the schedule was set.
What's important is that more than 55% of it's $58 million box-office bucks came from 3-D screenings (that just happen to charge a few extra bucks per ticket). MvA was in over 4,000 theaters, on around 7,000 screens, and at least 1,500 of those were special 3-D screens. Thanks to promotions like MvA's Super Bowl 3-D ad, moviegoers are finally getting over their aversion to wearing those little polarized plastic glasses, and 3-D feature films are starting to shake their cheesy, gimmicky stigma.
Which is great news for the film industry. The number of 3-D screens across the country has doubled since last summer, and a boost like this from Monsters vs. Aliens should convince more theater owners to spend the cash on even more 3-D screens. All of which means that films in theaters once again have a thrilling advantage over watching movies at home on DVD or your computer.
The Haunting in Connecticut came in second at the box office with $23 million, a very solid debut for a fairly low-rent, low-hype horror flick. (I have a very large beef with The Haunting and its relative success, which I will hop up on my soapbox about later this week.)
Knowing hung in tight at third, losing only 40% of its box office from last week–an impressive feat at a time when many flash-on-the-screen event films drop 60% of their take in their second week. The rest of the top five was filled out by last weekend's other two releases, I Love You, Man (which dropped less than 30%, signaling good word of mouth and long, sturdy box-office legs) and Duplicity.
The weekend's only other wide release, Renny Harlin's WWE-produced action thriller 12 Rounds, was much further down the chart, debuting in seventh place with just over $5 million.