Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 11th - 13th June 2010

1. The Karate Kid - $56M - $56M
2. The A-Team - $26M - $26M
3. Shrek Forever After - $15.8M - $210M
4. Get Him to the Greek - $10M - $36.5M
5. Killers - $8.1M - $30.6M
6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - $6.5M - $72.3M
7. Marmaduke - $6M - $22.2M
8. Sex and the City 2 - $5.5M - $84.7M
9. Iron Man 2 - $4.5M - $299.3M
10. Splice - $2.8M - $13M

About now, a break out hit wouldn't do this disappointing summer any harm at all and it may have just arrived. Two 80s throwbacks on the same weekend, one a remake and the other an updating of a TV show. At the start of the week most box office sites had The A-Team comfortably triumphing over The Karate Kid. By Friday evening we began to see just how wrong they were.

The Karate Kid remake has been bandied around for some time but it would take the star power of Will Smith to actually get the production moving. And Will isn't the only Smith involved as his son Jaden takes over the Daniel LaRusso role (here named Dre Parker), ably backed up by Jackie Chan's Mr.Han, with the action moving from the US to China. The debut trailer caught more than a few people off-guard (though it's fair to say expectations hadn't been high). A two and a half hour run time along with a face off with The A-Team, it's easy to see why the latter was expected to win the weekend. Friday saw The Karate Kid set up its stall for the rest of the weekend, taking in a strong $18.8M. The idea of it being a flash in the pan vanished too as Saturday and Sunday saw equally strong takings. Given that the film recouped its production budget sometime Saturday night/Sunday morning, Karate Kid has become something for Columbia to shout about. How it'll fair next weekend should be interesting, it skews an older family demographic than Toy Story 3 so could hold well. This a great start for Jaden Smith and goes some way to restoring Chan's reputation (in the US) after the failure that was The Spy Next Door.

Like The Karate Kid, an A-Team movie has been on the cards in one form or another since the TV show ended over twenty years ago. Joe Carnahan got the director gig, perhaps based on the action work he did in Smokin' Aces, and production was fast tracked for a Summer 2010 release. Roping in Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper, coming off hits Taken and The Hangover respectively, along with District 9's Sharlto Copley, Carnahan went with a non-actor to play perhaps the most infamous member of the team. B.A Baracas, in the form of UFC fighter Quinton Jackson.

Trailers were suitably manic and very much over the top but it seems the public weren't quite sold on the idea. What's odd is that while The Karate Kid appears to have successfully traded on some 80s nostalgia, the same doesn't appear to have worked for the A-Team, whose TV show was arguably a much bigger worldwide concern than the 1984 Ralph Macchio film. Friday saw the film take roughly half of the total scored by The Karate Kid and the weekend as a whole told a similar story. Jonah Hex will spar with The A-Team next weekend and unless word of mouth manages to spark something off, The A-Team will be unlikely to see much more than $70M, joining the ranks of the summer of disappointment. Worldwide appeal will then be called upon to cover its $110M production costs.

With just one weekend to go before the release of Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After somehow manages to clear $200M in takings. It's a safe to say things have been a bit of a struggle for Shrek - what should have been an easy $100M opening weekend turned into a $71M disappointment, with even the cost of 3D tickets failing to work their magic (in fact the opposite seemed true - the lack of box office highlighted how much Shrek struggled on that first weekend even with the aid of the higher 3D ticket costs). Thanks to other films failing to make much of an impact, Shrek Forever After managed three weeks at number one but it's now pretty much done and dusted. Expect the lowest finish of the entire series.

Opening on just the right side of good last weekend, Get Him To The Greek endured an ok Friday to Friday drop of 48% (43% for the weekend as a whole). After ten days on release the R-rated comedy is within a stone's throw of recouping its $40M budget and is still surfing on the wave of good reviews and positive word of mouth. Get Him To The Greek could easily see another $50M internationally making this a solid hit for all concerned. It appears that based on Greek's opening weekend take, Brand's 'Arthur' remake has started to move forward after being stalled at scripting for the past year.

While it was almost neck and neck with Get Him To The Greek last weekend, Killers falls much harder in its second frame. The Kutchner/Heigl comedy was a costly move for Lionsgate who sold off foreign distribution rights to help cut its own exposure. As it stands the film should just about cover the studio's $40M part of the $75M budget but little else. Heigl doesn't appear too concerned - she's already got another comedy release lined up for August in the guise of Life As We Know It. Buena Vista has given up on Prince of Persia's US take getting anywhere near $85M and has instead chosen to focus on its international tally, which is rapidly approaching $185M. Whether it'll all be enough to green lit a sequel is unlikely at this point but at least it pushes the film closer to profit.

Have failed to cause Shrek Forever After any trouble whatsoever, Marmaduke is probably looking at its last weekend in top ten and will be leaving having covered only half of its production budget. That said, this is exactly the type of film that'll score big on the home market. We may not have seen the last of Marmaduke. Sex & The City 2 has begun to shed locations on only its fourth weekend of release. Unlike the first film which seemed to have decent week-day business and weekend legs, SatC2 appears to have floundered quickly after it's solid opening. While its international performance isn't as strong as Prince of Persia, it's still causing a minor storm and may actually see a boost over the next few weeks thanks to the world cup.

The film which kicked the summer off, Iron Man 2, comes perilously close to $300M. If it stays in general release for a few more weeks it should best the $318M made by the first film but that is in no way a given. One can imagine the studio has already wondered whether a move into 3D (either while filming or post) would have seen the film with far more money in its coffers. Making little impact last weekend, save for with reviewers, Splice heads out of the top ten. The film, one of the most expensive Sundance acquisitions ever, is unlikely to see even two thirds of what it cost to get it made.

Pixar return next weekend, bringing their biggest name with them. With almost zero competition, either old or new, could we be looking at a record breaking weekend?

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