The animated fairy tale spoof Happily N’ever After arrived at the ball over the weekend but didn’t quite make the appearance distributor Loinsgate had hoped for. The family comedy took in $6.8 million to debut at No. 6. Though it did perform better than the Cedric the Entertainer comedy Codename: The Cleaner, it couldn’t touch reigning box office champ Night at the Museum, which held onto the top spot for a third week.
Directed by Paul J. Bolger, Happily N’ever After was produced by Oscar-winning Shrek producer John H. Williams of Vanguard Films, working with BAF Berlin Animation Film and BFC Berliner Film Companie. Critics have not been kind to the movie, which boasts a voice cast is led by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sigourney Weaver, Freddie Prinze Jr., George Carlin, Wallace Shawn and Andy Dick.
While Happily did respectable business for an independently produced toon, Lionsgate will aim for greater success with its slate of upcoming animated features, which includes Threshold Animation Studio’s Foodfight and RichCrest Animation’a Sylvester (based on the children’s book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble from late Shrek author William Steig). RichCrest Animation has a three-picture deal in place with Lionsgate.
Sony’s Will Smith vehicle, The Pursuit of Happyness, didn’t budge from the No. 2 spot, taking in an estimated $13 million over the weekend to bring its domestic cume to an estimated $124 million (est.) Meanwhile, Universal’s futuristic thriller Children of Men made the best of a wider release, rising to third place with around $10.2 million. Paramount’s Freedom Writers, starring Hillary Swank, debuted at No. 4 with approximately $9.7 million and DreamWorks’ Dreamgirls completes the top five with an estimated $8.8 million fourth-week draw.
Featuring visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, Weta Digital, Rainmaker, Maestro FX, New Deal Studios and The Orphanage, 20th Century Fox’s Night at the Museum hasn’t been receiving critical love either, but audiences have been eating it up since its Christmas bow. The comedic fantasy starring Ben Stiller has grossed around $164 million domestically and approximately $239 million worldwide.