Battle: Los Angeles #1

Battle: Los Angeles #1

Lead actors Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Merong (left) and Gavin Stenhouse as Rome prince Marcus in "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa"

14 Mar – "Battle: Los Angeles" invaded the top spot in North America with the second-biggest start of the year behind "Rango", while "Red Riding Hood" lacked infectious bite and "Mars Needs Moms" was a massive flop for the weekend just gone (10-13 March), BoxOfficeMojo reported.

"Battle: Los Angeles" raked in an estimated US$36 million, boasting initial attendance that was a bit less than "Black Hawk Down" and "Starship Troopers" but slightly ahead of 2008's sci-fi "The Day the Earth Stood Still". "Battle"'s start also trailed "District 9"'s US$37.4 million and "Cloverfield"'s $40.1 million, and it, of course, did not hold a candle to the likes of Will Smith's "Independence Day" and Tom Cruise's "War of the Worlds".

"Battle: Los Angeles" or also known as "World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles" opens in Singapore and Malaysia this 17 March.

The tracker site also reports that "Red Riding Hood" did not fare much better than the previous weekend's fairy tale revamp "Beastly", only conjuring an estimated US$14.1 million, which was apparently lower than "The Brothers Grimm"'s debut but above average for a werewolf movie.

"Mars Needs Moms" was an utter disaster, eking out just US$6.8 million or just over a quarter of "Gnomeo and Juliet"'s opening last month in the States and the animation was the third least-attended launch for a Disney animated movie on record and lowest debut yet for a broadly-released modern 3D-animated movie, replacing "Alpha and Omega" for the dishonor.

Meanwhile GSC Mid Valley cinema manager Lee Kong Yew revealed that the top three highest-grossing movies at the prime location for the weekend are Malaysia's big hope epic "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa" followed by Johnny Depp's animated chameleon "Rango" and Martin Lawrence's "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son".

"Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa" neared the half million mark on its opening day, according to social media updates from its distributor KRU Studios Productions.

KRU Studios CEO Norman Abdul Halim harbours early hopes for the film to be contested in the 84th Academy Awards next year under the Best Foreign Film category. In a recent published interview, Norman said: "I am expecting "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa" to be garnering at least RM2 million at the box office until Sunday (yesterday). Overall, I believe in this movie's potential to collect up to RM8 million in ticket sales."

He told Cinema Online this morning that the movie had indeed topped his target of RM 2 million over its opening four-day count.

Other new releases and sneak shows over the weekend in Malaysia include "World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles", "Unknown", "The Ward", "Giant Beast", "Mars Needs Moms" and "The Resident".

New releases and sneak shows in Singapore over the weekend include "Carmen In 3D", "The Lincoln Lawyer", "Mars Needs Moms", "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son", "Red Riding Hood", "Ghost" and "Rango".

Box office takings for the weekend just gone (10 – 13 Mar)
1) Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
2) Rango
3) Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
4) World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles
5) I Am Number Four
6) Mars Needs Moms
7) Unknown
8) The Adjustment Bureau
9) Beastly
10) 127 Hours
1) Red Riding Hood
2) Rango
3) Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
4) The Adjustment Bureau
5) Gnomeo & Juliet
6) I Am Number Four
7) Unknown
8) The King's Speech
9) My Ex: Haunted Lover
10) Mars Needs Mom

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