‘The Croods’ Look To Dethrone ‘Oz’ At Box Office

Analysts predict that the cavemen-themed kid flick will take the top spot this weekend.

Kid-friendly cavemen are about to stomp all over the Yellow Brick Road: DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods” is likely to knock two-time champion “Oz the Great and Powerful” from the top of the box office this weekend, according to most industry analysts.

Featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, the well-reviewed 3-D kid flick is expected to debut to the tune of at least $40 million. Ensemble action thriller “Olympus Has Fallen,” meanwhile, should open with roughly half that number. The Tina Fey/Paul Rudd comedy “Admission” arrives in theaters this weekend as well, while “Spring Breakers” expands to more theaters.

“Family audiences are the premium demographic around spring break, and animation has had a lot of success with March and April releases in recent years,” Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. ” ‘The Croods’ is Fox’s first release of a DreamWorks Animation ‘toon since they took over distribution duties from Paramount, so all eyes will be on the final box-office prize.”

Bock predicted that “The Croods” could have a run similar to 2010′s “How to Train Your Dragon,” which opened with $43 million and went on to collect $217 million, given the fact that there won’t be another kids’ movie to compete with until Memorial Day’s “Epic.”

“Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua is responsible for “Olympus Has Fallen,” which counts Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler among its cast. The effects-heavy film’s plot involves terrorists capturing the White House. As MTV News recently noted, the movie is reminiscent of films that took the “Die Hard” premise into different settings, with Butler playing the John McClane-type role.

“Gerard Butler needs this [to be a hit] more than anyone, as he really hasn’t pulled his weight in Tinseltown since his breakthrough performance in ’300,’ ” Bock noted. “Having Morgan Freeman will help. And the fact that Fuqua is at the helm will make this Butler’s best shot at getting back within spitting distance of Hollywood’s A-list.”

IMDb.com’s Keith Simanton called “Olympus” the “best conventional actioner” he’s seen since “The Raid.” “I think March Madness hurts this more than the film itself,” he told MTV News. “I predict a $19 million opening, though I wish it better than that.”

“Oz” has already made $150 million and has a sequel on the way. James Franco had plenty to celebrate last weekend with the per-screen averages for “Spring Breakers,” as well. The movie will expand from its New York and Los Angeles showings into more theaters around the country. Franco plays a criminal in the dark party movie, alongside Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson.

Bock predicted “Spring Breakers” to break the top 10 with $7 million this weekend, helping to establish A24 films as “the hippest new indie shingle on the boulevard.” Simanton, meanwhile, predicted a $10 million haul.

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd shouldn’t expect a lot more from their comedy, “Admission,” which is debuting in about 2,000 theaters. That’s 1,000 less than last weekend’s comedy flop, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” “The admission is that there hasn’t been much of a marketing campaign behind this one,” Simanton deadpanned. “[It will make] $8 million and it will try for a student loan.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Croods.”