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'The Croods' catches fire with US$44.7 mil. opening

LOS ANGELES--The caveman comedy “The Croods” left an indelible mark on the wall, opening at No. 1 with an estimated US$44.7 million.

The 3D adventure from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox features a voice cast including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Catherine Keener. They play a prehistoric family encountering danger and strange new creatures when they're forced to find a new cave.

Opening strongly in second place with US$30.5 million was “Olympus Has Fallen,” an action thriller from “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua in which North Korean terrorists take over the White House. Gerard Butler, as a secret service agent, leads an all-star cast that includes Aaron Eckhart as the president, Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett.

“The Croods” has now made US$108 million worldwide, also opening this weekend in Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. In the United States, it's the only game in town as far as animated films for the whole family, and it will continue to be so as kids head out of school for spring break over the next couple of weeks.

“It's a terrific crowd-pleaser, it got an A CinemaScore and an A-plus with audiences under 18, which leads me to believe a lot of kids loved the movie,” said Anne Globe, chief marketing officer for DreamWorks Animation.

Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, said “The Croods” had a stronger opening than the US$40 million the studio had projected.

“To come in at the US$45 million mark, ahead of 'How to Train Your Dragon,' which was another terrific movie from DreamWorks Animation, is a great start to the spring holiday,” Aronson said.

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