Despite having to shift the release date around a few times, Fox (before it was owned by Disney and before DreamWorks had its deal with Universal) opted to release “The Croods” in theaters on March 22, 2013. As we’ve seen over the last decade, March can be fertile ground in that pre-summer, spring break window for certain blockbusters. It certainly proved to work well for this film.
The animated flick, after all its delays and development troubles, debuted atop the charts in its opening weekend, taking in $43.6 million, topping “Olympus has Fallen” and “Admission,” which also opened that weekend. While the film would surrender the crown to “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” the following weekend, dropping 38.8%, it still took in another $26.7 million. Audiences were eating it up. Families were eating it up. Word of mouth was good.
What helped most of all was a tremendous overseas turnout. The film finished its domestic run with $187.1 million, but it did a stellar $400 million internationally, far exceeding expectations. That $587.2 million global haul more than justified the $135 million production budget and, moreover, helped bail DreamWorks out of a rough spot. It also gave Nic Cage a new highest-grossing movie, overtaking “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” ($457.3 million) by a significant margin.