Panda Wins, Zohan Solid, Sex Limp

The “Kung Fu Panda” shuddered the box-office with his awesomeness, the Dreamworks animated comedy racking up a strong $60 million opening in the top spot at the weekend box-office.

The number was enough to be the third biggest opening of the year behind Indy and Iron Man, and easily the biggest opening of an original Dreamworks Animation feature (the two “Shrek” sequels took in more). Reviews were also stellar for ‘Panda’ with an 85% (7.1/10) score at Rotten Tomatoes, and a 73/100 (8.3/10) score at Metacritic.

Coming in at #2 was Adam Sandler’s new comedy “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” with $40 million. Sandler comedy movies in recent years always fall in a $34-47 million opening weekend range and this fell comfortably right in the middle of the curve – equalling 2006’s “Click”.

The biggest loser this weekend was “Sex and the City” which plunged a whopping 62% to fourth place, indicating audiences only wanted a one weekend fling with Carrie and the girls. The film will have just crossed the $100 million mark by the time you read this, and internationally it has also opened huge, nevertheless steep drops indicate little staying power – certainly not a film that’s ‘crossing over’ into other demographics or pulling in repeat viewership.

Holding better than expected was “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” which fell 49.0% in its third weekend to a $22.8 million haul. In spite of fanboy dismissal, the film now sits comfortably with $253.8 million in the bank and will certainly cross the $300 million mark.

Speaking of that number, “Iron Man” came in 6th with $7.5 million adding to its now $288.9 million haul and looks set to cross $300 million by the end of next weekend.

Home invasion thriller “The Strangers” fell along expected lines (56%) to a $9.3 million gross. The low-budget scarer now sits at $37.6 million, more than four times its $9 million budget.

On the limited release front, Colin Firth drama “And When Did You Last See Your Father” and Seann William Scott comedy “The Promotion” sadly failed to garner much traction with audiences ($5,137 & $4,816 per screen averages respectively). The Ghenghis Khan biopic “Mongol” however had a stellar debut ($26,600 per screen) whilst Heather Graham comedy “Miss Conception” was a spectacular flop ($500 per screen).