ICE AGE, 20th Century Foxs first foray into CG animated features, topped the charts this weekend and had the third largest opening for an animated feature ever, behind TOY STORY 2 and MONSTERS, INC. and the largest March opening in U.S. box office history. Debuting with $47.8M, the prehistoric beasts crushed the competition, with second place RESIDENT EVIL scaring up just $18.2M. Based on the video game of the same name, RESIDENT EVIL features visual effects by AMX Studios Ltd. and MagicMove. Third place was held by the DeNiro/Murphy buddy comedy SHOWTIME with $15.4M. Last weeks number one THE TIME MACHINE, with visual effects by Digital Domain and ILM, dropped to fourth earning $10.9M for a cume of $40.1M. Having to compete with a new family-friendly animated film caused Disneys sequel RETURN TO NEVER LAND to lose half its audience from last weekend. The film landed in tenth place, grossing $2.3M for $45.3M to date. THE LORD OF THE RINGS, with primary visual effects by Weta Digital, dropped only one spot to eleventh, with $2.1M and $294.3M to date. A big sweep at Sundays Academy Awards might boost this film back into the top ten next weekend. Box office information obtained from yahoo.com.
John C. Donkin, Blue Sky's associate producer, reminisces on how the studio transformed itself from a small boutique into a major contender with the feature film release of ICE AGE.