How To Train Your Dragon has been an enduring yet unlikely success since its launch on Mar. 26. Enduring in the longevity of its box office run, and unlikely due to its genre and how it strayed from the DreamWorks Animation norm.
With close to $209 million through its eighth week, Dragon has grossed nearly five times what it did on its opening weekend, which is the biggest multiplier of any 2010 nationwide release thus far and, among major animated releases, the biggest multiplier since Finding Nemo. Its average weekend drop-off rate has been a slim 26 percent. When it led the April 23-25 weekend, it was the first movie in over four years to reclaim the weekend top spot, and it's been in the Top Five since it opened. The last animated feature to spend that much time in the Top Five was Toy Story in 1995.
When How to Train Your Dragon drew $43.7 million on its opening weekend, it was unfairly maligned. The media and the industry had some random, largely unfounded expectations that the picture didn't live up to (as they often do). Sure, Dragon had an enormous release of 4,055 theaters, and it had a ubiquitous marketing campaign, which had some questionable elements like renaming the picture "DreamWorks' Dragons" and interstitials that interrupted the Winter Olympics. Its start also paled compared to Monsters Vs. Aliens' $59.3 million debut on the same weekend in 2009.
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