Ice Melts More Filmgoers’ Hearts

Can Scrat and company single-handedly save the first quarter doldrums at the box office? In light of the estimated $34.5 million Fox/Blue Sky’s Ice Age : The Meltdown (directed by Carlos Saldanha) took in during its second weekend of release, many in the industry are hoping that more CG-animated family features will be the key to drawing audiences to theaters in 2006.

However, the CG-animated sequel took in $68 million last weekend, which means it posted a 49% drop in earnings. Industry observers note that the movie had the biggest second-weekend shrinkage in audiences ever for a CG family movie (with the exception of those that premiered over a Thanksgiving holiday). Yet, because of the strong performance of the feature, the box office numbers are 1% higher than the same period last year, according to Nielsen IDI/Daily Variety. Compared to 2004, the year is still down 2%. The movie averaged $8,692 at 3,969 locations. The total cume is now up to $116.4 million.

This coming weekend will also be a critical period for CG-animated films as Disney’s The Wild goes head to head with Ice Age: The Meltdown. Also more young moviegoers will be available to screen the pic this week because of spring break/Easter holiday. Following that, the next red-letter day on the feature animation calendar is May 19, when DreamWorks releases director Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick’s Over the Hedge. The studio has already started to heavily promote the feature, which is also unspooling at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

The movie is also proving to be a huge blockbuster internationally as it grossed $94 million in 45 markets.