Shrek Forever After was top draw again at the North American box office this weekend as Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time both had smaller than expected openings.

Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s fourth Shrek film was down a respectable 38% in its second weekend, grossing an estimated $43.3m from 4,367 theatres (for $9,926 per-theatre average) for the Friday-Sunday span of weekend, which continues with Monday’s Memorial Day holiday.

Warner’s Sex and the City 2 opened in second place with $32.1m from 3,445 theatres (average - $9,325) for the three-day weekend. The romantic comedy sequel opened on Thursday and took $14.2m that day, for a total as of Sunday of $46.3m.

But that still left the sequel short of the $57m three-day opening achieved by the original Sex and the City film, which was released the weekend after Memorial Day in 2008 and went on to gross $152.6m domestically.

Co-financed by Warner’s New Line division and Village Roadshow Pictures, Sex 2 generated plenty of pre-release anticipation, with its re-teaming of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall - playing the characters they originated in the HBO series - with writer-director Michael Patrick King. The sequel may have been hurt, however, by damning reviews and word of mouth.

Disney’s pricey Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time opened with an estimated $30.2m from 3,646 theatres (average - $8.275) for the Friday-Sunday period.

Based on the popular video game series and with Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton starring for director Mike Newell, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced fantasy adventure got mixed reviews but had been expected to open more in line with the first of Bruckheimer’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which started with $46.6m in summer 2003.

Last weekend’s number two, Paramount’s Iron Man 2, was pushed into fourth spot but dropped only 39% in its fourth week to gross an estimated $16m from 3,804 theatres (average - $4,215), for a total to date of $274.6m.

Also holding well was Summit’s Letters to Juliet, which in its third week slipped only 34% to gross an estimated $5.9m from 2,825 theatres (average - $2,088), for a total of $36.6m.

Next weekend’s wide releases are: Universal comedy Get Him To The Greek, with Russell Brand and Jonah Hill; Lionsgate action comedy Killers, starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl; Fox’s family comedy Marmaduke, with a voice cast headed by George Lopez; and Warner’s sci-fi horror entry Splice, with Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley.


Estimated Top 10 North America May 28-30 2010

Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (1) Shrek Forever After (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) PPI $43.3m $133.1m

2 (-) Sex and the City 2 (Warner Bros) WBIP $32.1m $46.3m

3 (-) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Walt Disney) WDSMPI $30.2m -

4 (2) Iron Man 2 (Marvel/Paramount) PPI $16m $274.6m

5 (3) Robin Hood (Universal) UPI $10.3m $83m

6 (4) Letters To Juliet (Summit) Summit Int’l $5.9m $36.6m

7 (5) Just Wright (Fox Searchlight) Fox Int’l $2.2m $18.2m

8 (7) Date Night (Fox) Fox Int’l $1.8m $93.4m

9 (6) MacGruber (Universal) UPI $1.5m $7.1m

10 (9) How To Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) PPI $1m $212.6m