Ice Still Hot, Wild Mild

Disney’s The Wild didn’t exactly come in like a lion over the weekend. According to box office estimates, the studio’s latest CG-animated comedy-adventure yarn earned just $9.5 million since opening across North America on Friday. The film had a hard time competing with Fox Animation/Blue Sky’s Ice Age: The Meltdown, which gained around $20 million this weekend to bring its three-week cumulative to a whopping $147 million domestically and approximately $316.6 worldwide.

Directed by first-timer Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams and animated by C.O.R.E. Feature Animation in Toronto, The Wild debuted at No. 4, despite positive reviews from some of the nation’s leading critics. In hindsight, Disney picked a tough frame for a debut, given the strength of the Ice Age sequel and other tough competitors in the comedy department. Even Sony Pictures’ second-week holdover, The Benchwarmers, performed slightly better, taking the third place trophy with an estimated $10 million.

After holding the top spot for the past two weekends, Ice Age: The Meltdown fell one notch as moviegoers largely sought to tickle their funny bones with Dimension’s Scary Movie 4. The latest installment in the popular horror movie spoof series took in around $41 million to shatter the Easter weekend record of $30 million set by 2002′s Jodie Foster thriller, Panic Room. Rounding out the top five is New Line Cinema’s Antonio Banderas dance flick, Take the Lead, which an estimated $6.7 million in its fourth week.

Fears of a toon glut loom as animation fans have been getting at least one animated feature each month in 2006. Just three months into the year, we’ve already seen the release of Universal’s Curious George, The Weinstein Co.’s Doogal, Fox’s Ice Age: The Meltdown and Disney’s The Wild. On May 19, DreamWorks Animation will deliver Over the Hedge, which will be followed by Disney/Pixar’s eagerly awaited Cars on June 9. July will give us both Monster House from Sony Pictures and The Barnyard from Paramount Pictures, as well as the rotoscoped sci-fi entry A Scanner Darkly from Warner Indie and the makers of Waking Life. The CG dance card for the rest of the year is filled out by Warner Bros.’ The Ant Bully (Aug. 4), 20th Century Fox’s Everyone’s Hero (Sept. 15), Sony’s Open Season (Sept. 25), DreamWorks/Aardman’s Flushed Away (Nov. 3) and Warner Bros. Happy Feet (Nov. 17).