The Weinstein Company’s Escape from Planet Earth surprised many people by earning a robust $21.1 million over the four-day President’s Day holiday weekend. Its success was all the more surprising because the B-list kiddie pleaser didn’t have a huge marketing presence, wasn’t made by a name-brand studio, and didn’t seem to have wide appeal beyond its target demographic. But it benefited from a quiet period for family films, while managing to surpass the debuts of other CG space pics like the $12.3M opening of Planet 51 (2009) and the $6.9M opening of Mars Needs Moms (2011).

The Moviefone website has an in-depth piece discussing the film’s strong opening. In there, Stephen Bruno, the Weinstein Co.’s marketing president, explained how he approached the advertising for Escape from Planet Earth:

“[It] was focused on first presenting our core audience with a longer form look at the full story via in-theater trailers, advertisements, and long-lead digital placement. The television campaign was bifurcated to raise awareness and interest with parents and kids, through a six week flight that first aimed [to] re-introduce the concept, then highlight the comedy, and of course close with the exceptional voice cast.”

Bruno makes it sound easy, but the real proof will be if he can repeat this success with the next three Weinstein animated films planned for release this year.