An $18 Million Weekend for Sony’s Surfing Penguins

The animated penguins of Sony’s Surf’s Up caught a relatively mellow tide at the box office this weekend as the pic landed in at No. 4 with an estimated $18 million fro 3,528 theaters. Competing with the cool birds for family audience attention were Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End which continued to do swashbuckling business at No. 2 with $21, 316,000 (three-week cume of $253.6 million domestically) and the No. 5 movie, DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek the Third, which brought in $15.8 million in its fourth weekend (total cume is $281.9 million) after a month in release.

Analysts blame an oversaturated toon market for the lower-than-expected numbers for the Sony pic. However, it should be taken into consideration that the movie was the top toon at the box-office, and perhaps, it’s not fair to compare its numbers with Disney/Pixar’s launch of Cars, which had a $60 million weekend opening, same time last year.

Warner Bros’ Vegas crime caper Ocean’s Thirteen was the No. 1 movie at the box office, with a $37.1 million opening. However, the threequel’s numbers were lower than both Ocean’s Eleven ($38.1 million) and Ocean’s Twelve ($39.1 million). Hollywood number-crunchers point out that overall, despite a killer opening for Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third, the numbers are behind that of 2004, the record-setting year, but 1% or $15.1 million, according to Nielsen EDI. Fox’s heavily promoted Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is expected to bring up the numbers when it opens this Friday.