Monster Opening for Van Helsing

Universal’s over-the-top horror/action/adventure tour de force Van Helsing kicked off the summer movie season with a fang over the weekend, driving a stake through the heart of the competition to claim the No. 1 spot. The Hugh Jackman vehicle sucked an estimated $54.2 out of moviegoers despite a lack of enthusiasm from critics.

Featuring visual effects by ILM, Hatch FX, Illusion Arts and CIS, Van Helsing has Bram Stoker’s famous monster hunter journey to Eastern Europe to rid the world of an ancient evil with the help of the beautiful but deadly Anna, played by Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor, Underworld). The two go up against Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster and Mr. Hyde, classic monsters brought to the screen largely through digital animation.

Van Helsing‘s big opening stunted the growth of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, whose theatrical debut New York Minute made an estimated $6.2 million for Warner Bros. and finished in the fourth spot behind Paramount’s Mean Girls ($14 million est.) and Twentieth Century Fox’s Man on Fire ($7.9 million est.) Rounding out the top five is Sony/Revolution Studios 13 Going on 30, which did around $5.5 million in its third week.

Warner Bros.’ animated prequel Van Helsing: The London Assignment arrives on home video tomorrow, Tuesday, May 11. Watch this site for more information on that release and read about Vivendi Universal’s Van Helsing video game in the May issue of Animation Magazine. Also look for our June cover story on Van Helsing.