"Ice Age" heats up box office with record opening

Actor Ray Romano, who gives his voice to Manny in the animated movie "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" poses for a portrait in Marina del Rey, California in this June 8, 2009 file photo. The movie grossed a cool $13.8 million in North American theaters on Wednesday, marking Hollywood's biggest mid-week opening for an animated film. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” grossed a cool $13.8 million in North American theaters on Wednesday, marking Hollywood’s biggest mid-week opening for an animated film.

The previous record Wednesday opening in the United States and Canada for a cartoon feature was “Shrek 2,” which sold $11.8 million its first day in May 2004, according to the film tracking service Box-Office.

The third installment of “Ice Age,” the hit film franchise starring a computer-animated cast of prehistoric critters, also bested the blockbuster “Transformers” sequel, which sold $11.2 million on Wednesday, its eighth day in release.

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which opened last week at the top of the box office, has now amassed domestic ticket sales of about $240 million.

Box office analysts say “Transformers 2” has a chance of holding on to the No. 1 spot for the U.S. July 4th holiday weekend as a whole, but the 3-D movie “Ice Age” is considered the front-runner for first place.

A third-place finish is likely to go to the period gangster drama “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, which opened Wednesday with $8.2 million in U.S.-Canadian ticket sales.

“Ice Age” is distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp. “Transformers” was released by Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures. “Public Enemies” is a release of Universal Pictures, controlled by General Electric.