For the second straight March, the twinned powers of Johnny Depp and CGI are powering more than their share of the box office.
Paramount/Nickelodeon’s “Rango” grossed $15.3-million to finish second to “Limitless” ($19-million) for the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Gore Verbinski’s animated tale of a cowboy chameleon has now grossed $92.6-million domestically and $139-million globally, according to boxofficemojo.com — meaning in just three weeks, the film has surpassed its $135-million production budget.
Last March, Depp starred in Tim Burton’s live-action/CGI “Alice in Wonderland,” which rode a $116-million March opening to more than $1-billion in global gross.
This year, though, the box office is proving more slackerly than the pot-smoking, potty-mouthed CGI alien in the new film “Paul” (which opened, by the way, to a pretty fair $13.15-million).
According to Reuters, year-to-date ticket sales are down 20 percent — and attendance is down 21 percent — compared to last year, when both “Alice” and “Avatar” were going strong.
(“Limitless,” starring Bradley Cooper, won the weekend despite not even cracking the $20-million mark. Plus, last week’s champ, “Battle: Los Angeles,” plummeted nearly 60-percent to gross $14.6-million and finish just ahead of the new film “The Lincoln Lawyer,” starring Matthew McConaughey.)
And then there’s the other end of the current animation fare, commercially speaking: Disney’s “Mars Needs Moms” grossed $5.3-million this weekend and has now made $15.4-million against a $150-million production budget — putting it on track to become one of the most expensive box-office disappointments ever.