3-D Runs Help 'Ice Age 3' Rule World

Twentieth Century Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has quickly hatched into one of the most powerful players of the year at the foreign box office, grossing a boffo $332.6 million in its first 10 days. For the July 10-12 weekend -- its second sesh -- the 3-D toon grossed $101.9 million from 12,057 runs in 101 markets to stay No. 1 internationally.

Overseas auds are proving every bit as willing as moviegoers in the U.S. to pay a premium for 3-D films. Of the 11,652 screens that Dawn of the Dinosaurs opened on, only 2,126 were 3-D screens, or 18%. Yet the 3-D playdates generated $51 million in ticket sales, or 34% of the total opening gross.

The dazzling overall results underscore the revenue potential of 3-D titles, as well as the value of a family franchises like Ice Age, of which Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the third installment.

Dawn of the Dinosaurs should ultimately gross more than any summer tentpole besides Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It's already passing Sony's Angels and Demons ($334 million to date) and should soon overtake Paramount's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($365.1 million to date).

Theater owners also say the return on the investment they made to install 3-D screens has been quicker than expected.

Moviegoers in France remained delighted with the animated dinos. The pic's French cume through July 12th was a hefty $34.6 million.

Dawn of the Dinosaurs also continued to dominate the box office in Germany, dropping a mere 7% in its sophomore frame to $14.9 million, as rainy weather and summer holidays helped boost the overall cume to $37.8 million, the highest of any territory.

In Spain, Dawn of the Dinosaurs stayed at No. 1 in its second frame. Better yet, grosses from 3-D screens dropped just 36%, while grosses from 2-D screens slid 45%. Exhibs say this provides more evidence 3-D pics not only gross more, but give the film longer plays. Total cume in Spain is $17.2 million.

By Pamela McClintock, Variety