The winner in the battle known as Monsters vs. Aliens is DreamWorks Animation, who scored a hit with the film and pulled in an estimated $58.2 million in its opening weekend.
The 3-D aspect of the film played a big part in the large gross, with Variety reporting that 58 percent of the film’s business came from the 28 percent of theaters showing the film in 3-D ‘ and charging a few extra dollars for the experience.
The film struggled, however, with critics. The ratings site Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a positive rating of 69 percent based on 122 reviews and garnering an average rating of 6.4 out of 10. Metacritic similarly rated the film at 56 percent positive, which they classify as mixed or average. And Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein calls the critical reception ‘lukewarm at best.’ (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/2009/03/the-critics-on.html)
Coming in a distant second was another newcomer The Haunting in Connecticut, which took in $23 million. The only other major new release, the action-adventure film 12 Rounds, took in $5.3 million ‘ good for seventh place.
Of the VFX-heavy films in release, Knowing came in third with a decent $14 million in its second weekend, while Race to Witch Mountain came in sixth with $5.6 million and Watchmen took eighth place with $2.7 million for a cumulative domestic gross of $103 million after its fourth weekend in release.
Monsters vs. Aliens‘ 3-D dominance finally seems to have knocked stop-motion animated feature Coraline out of the top ten. The film fell from 10th place last weekend to 20th place this weekend, taking in $301,000 for an eight-week domestic cumulative gross of $73.9 million.