The Washington Post

BOX OFFICE: ‘Rango’ still a tough hombre; ‘Mars Needs Moms,’ not so much

When to comes to animated fare in Hollywood, this town may not be big enough for both “Rango’s” sheriff and the laser guns of “Mars Needs Moms.”

Paramount/Nickelodeon’s “Rango” proved resilient, grossing $23-million one week after the Johnny Depp-voiced film debuted as the box-office champ with $38-million -- and winning animation’s current battle of Los Angeles.

Disney’s 3-D/IMAX/motion-capture animation “Mars Needs Moms” was much slower on the draw, pulling in a disappointing $6.8-million in its debut, according to domestic-market studio estimates compiled by Reuters. Some industry observers had predicted the film from producer Robert Zemeckis and director Simon Wells would gross at least $10-million.

Last spring, DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon” and Tim Burton’s live-action/CGI-animation hybrid “Alice in Wonderland” (also headlined by Depp) were both able to win over much of the same audience, each elbowing their way to box-office success.

With only a week between their dueling-animation releases, though, “Mars” may have partly been undercut by “Rango’s” staying power.

Another alien adventure, Sony’s “Battle: Los Angeles” (starring “The Dark Knight’s” Aaron Eckhart), won the weekend with $36-million and finished well ahead of (in order) “Rango,” “Red Riding Hood” ($14.1-million), “The Adjustment Bureau” ($11.5-mill) and “Mars Needs Moms.”

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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