Monsters Pop Up at the Box Office

Monsters vs. Aliens is here at last ‘ the big question is how big a bite these warring creatures will take out of the weekend box office.

The most recent release from DreamWorks Animation, MvA is opening at some 3,500 theaters. The film also is the most recent test for 3-D technology, which DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg is betting on heavily. Of an expected 7,000 total screens, about 2,000 will be 3-D, with many charging a premium of a few dollars for the experience. The per-screen average for 3-D screens is expected to clobber that for 2-D screens.

Directed by Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) and Rob Letterman (Shark Tale), the feature centers on a group of 1950s B-movie-style monsters, who are unleashed by the military to fight an alien attack’plus a twist of femme liberation thrown in, courtesy of a the giant-sized Ginormica (voiced by Reese Witherspoon). Seth Rogen, Stephen Colbert, Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie and Kiefer Sutherland provide the voices of some of the other colorful characters.

The movie has received good pre-release word of mouth, generating a respectable 74% on the rottentomatoes.com website, which provides an average score of all available reviews. “Monsters vs. Aliens is possibly the most commercial title of the year. How can you resist such a premise, especially if it’s in 3-D animation? Very readily, in my case!” writes Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times.

You can pick up the new issue of Animation Magazine for a great behind-the-scenes cover story about the making of the movie.

Also new to the box office this weekend are the Lionsgate horror film The Haunting in Connecticut (set for some 2,600 theaters) and the Fox action-adventure movie 12 Rounds, opening in 2,200 theaters.