By Christy Lemire, AP Movie WriterLOS ANGELES -- The caveman comedy The Croods left an indelible mark on the wall, opening at No. 1 with $44.7 million, according to Sunday studio estimates. The 3-D adventure from DreamWorks Animation ( DWA) and 20th Century Fox
This one-two punch of Croods and Olympus -- two movies that appealed to two very different audiences -- was much-needed at the box office, which is down 13% from the same period last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com. "I was really surprised by Olympus. This year, the R-rated action films have all fallen flat," Dergarabedian said, including The Last Stand and Parker. ''The marketing was good. Gerard Butler -- he's the real deal, he looks the part and everything. And the theme of the movie, the fact that the president is under siege -- it worked on Air Force One. There's something about that theme that works for audiences." But this weekend's haul is down 34% from the same weekend a year ago, when the juggernaut of The Hunger Games debuted. It made a whopping $152.5 million in its opening, which is more than all the films in theaters combined will have made this weekend. Among the other new films this weekend, the Tina Fey-Paul Rudd college comedy Admission from Focus Features opened in fifth place with just $6.4 million. But the buzzed-about Spring Breakers from A24 Films, featuring Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens as hard-partying college girls, did well in its first nationwide expansion. It made $5 million on 1,104 screens for a total of $5.4 million over the past two weeks. Nothing really huge is on the horizon to give the box office a boost until Iron Man 3 kicks off the summer movie season on May 3, Dergarabedian said. But the strong showing for Olympus Has Fallen could bode well for the sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation next weekend.