Robots and ancient critters fight to a draw

Let’s see if we can’t keep it simple. After a bit of seesawing over the weekend, it looks like we have a straight tie for domestic box office in the battle of the colon-ized sequels, at least in the domestic estimates. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” both yielded a very healthy estimated $42.5 million. ” So says both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Of course, the tie will be broken when the b.o. “actuals” will yield a winner, Franken v. Coleman style, tomorrow night, however.

“Transformers” also continued its strong performance overseas and is nearing the $300 million mark for its cumulative total. As Nikki Finke points out, however, the $215 million that “Ice Age” took sets a new international record for an animated film. So everyone’s going to have no problem getting a good table at the restaurant of their choice this week.

Johnny Depp and Marion CotillardReturning to the domestic market, the strong numbers also continued in the #3 spot, with “Public Enemies” netting an estimated $26.2 million over the weekend and $41 million for the five days since it’s Wednesday opening. That assuages some of the fears about the film and proves that some adults will still leave the house to turn out for a movie with a bit of heft into it, even in the face of somewhat mixed reviews. Meanwhile “The Hangover” (which I really need to go see now), crossed the $200 million mark, proving that making audiences laugh will never hurt you, assuming they’re supposed to laugh.

In smaller release news, Kathryn Bigelow’s extremely well reviewed Iraq-set bomb disposal thriller, “The Hurt Locker,” really is starting to look like the possible break-out film among limited releases. It’s generating good word of mouth in my actual real life from actual real people and netting the best per-screen average of any film two weeks running. That’s in a minuscule nine theaters — about 4,223 fewer screens than “Transformers” — so we’ll see how it does when it expands to non-mega-metropolises.

  

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