By Nicole Sperling
Updated May 23, 2010 at 05:40 PM EDT

Who knew the appetite for Shrek would abate so significantly in just three years? Whereas Shrek the Third bowed to over $121 million back in summer 2007, Shrek Forever After, which boasted a slew of expensive 3-D screens, opened this weekend to just $71.2 million. (IMAX screens accounted for 7 percent of the total.) The PG-rated animated flick from Dreamworks Animation generated a solid A Cinemascore from audiences, which bodes well for the movie’s staying power, but the opening is still far beneath what the third and even second installment in the uber-successful franchise opened to. In fact, the only Shrek movie that opened weaker than Shrek Forever After was the original in 2001, a completely unique concept at the time that opened to $42 million.

The other new wide release of the frame was the Relativity Media financed R-rated comedy MacGruber. Unfortunately for this property, based on the Saturday Night Live skit, the concept was widely rejected by moviegoers. Earning only $4.1 million for the weekend and a C- from Cinemascore, MacGruber may find it challenging to earn back the meager $10 million it cost to make the film. From producer Lorne Michaels, and starring SNL castmates Will Forte and Kristen Wiig, MacGruber opened in sixth place.

The majority of the remaining top 10 films were holdovers, with both Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood dropping less than 50 percent for the weekend. Iron Man nabbed the second slot for its third weekend in theaters. The Robert Downey Jr. starrer grossed an additional $26.6 million to put its total cume at $251.2 million. Robin Hood fell 48 percent its second weekend in theaters. From director Ridley Scott, the PG-13 rated epic tale starring Russell Crowe grossed $18.7 million for a total two-week gross of $66.1 million. As expected, the film has outperformed internationally, where the total gross stands at $125 million.

Letters to Juliet had the best hold of the weekend among the top 10. The Amanda Seyfried-starring, Tuscan-set romance dropped only 33 percent its second weekend for an additional $9 million. The film, well-liked by audiences, has now earned $27.4 million. Spot five went to the Queen Latifah-starring romantic comedy Just Wright, which in its second weekend of release lost 47 percent of its value. Adding $4.2 million to its gross, the film’s cume stands at $14.6 million.

Date Night took the seventh spot, earning $2.8 million to put its total seven-week gross at $90 million. Nightmare on Elm Street held on to spot eight, earning another $2.2 million to put its four-week cume at close to $60 million. And How to Train Your Dragon grabbed the ninth slot. The other animated flick from Paramount and Dreamworks Animation grossed $1.8 million its ninth weekend in release, for a total cume that stands at $210 million. Spot 10 went to the new Indian film Kites. Opening in only 208 theaters, the Bollywood film from Reliance Big Pictures grossed $1 million, pushing both The Back-Up Plan and the Babies documentary out of the top 10.

The box office as a whole was down compared to last year at this time, which was the Memorial Day holiday frame. That should all change next weekend when Sex and the City 2 opens on Thursday and Disney bows its Jerry Bruckheimer adventure starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Prince of Persia, over the holiday weekend. Stay tuned.