Warner Brothers’ astronomically expensive superhero picture “Green Lantern” starring Ryan Reynolds was, by a wide margin, the biggest movie at the box office this weekend, flashing a cool $53.1 million in ticket sales, according to estimates, making it the fourth straight superhero movie to top the box office this year (after “The Green Hornet,” “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class”). But that’s where the good news ends for the green tin can because when all factors are taken into consideration, LANTERN is slated to become one of the biggest catastrophes of the summer, perhaps even of the year.
With one of the priciest marketing blitzes of any film this year, reported to be more than $100 million, and a budget reported to be in excess of $200 million, a lot was riding on the success of this relatively unpopular character. Problems surfaced almost from the start as the picture was plagued with reshoots, a subpar marketing campaign that made the film look like a silly space opera, and a theme that was inconsistent (is it a comedy or is it a serious film?). But after parent studio WB started pumping a ton of money at the last minute due to poor tracking numbers, awareness and buzz started to shape up. However, a lot of it was to moot since early reviews were universally negative, feeding bad buzz across the large fan base. With horrific reviews from critics and a weak “B” grade from opening day audiences polled by Cinemascore, the film had to do well on its opening day.
Luckily for WB, it did as the picture pulled in a very strong $21.7 million on Friday. However, with a ton of flies already swarming it, the movie collapsed to $16.8 million on Saturday – an eye-popping 22% from its opening day gross –signaling toxic word-of-mouth. Most blockbusters with extremely high anticipation rates usually drop by less than 10% over the Friday-Saturday period so a 22% drop is extremely worrisome. For comparisons sake, both “Thor” and “X-MEN: First Class” had drops of only 8% over the Friday-to-Saturday period. Those films also opened with stronger openings (“Thor” with $65.7; “First Class” with $55.1) despite having far fewer familiar faces. Since “Green Lantern” boasted stars in Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and even Tim Robbins, the opening must be considered sub-par. Worse, a majority of moviegoers bypassed watching the film in 3-D as only 45% of its grosses were from the gimmicky medium (good job America!). With bad word-of-mouth, poor reviews, and an insanely high budget, don’t expect this to become a franchise. Instead, expect the film to crash and burn big time next weekend the same way “Fantastic Four” and “Hulk” did. My Review.
After posting a modest opening number last weekend, J. J. Abrams’ science fiction thriller “Super 8” dropped a spot to number two this weekend but thanks to very positive word-of-mouth lost only 40% of its audience for a $21.4 million weekend tally. With $73 million in the bank, the coming-of-age picture, budgeted at $50 million, stands to finish its run with a strong $140 million and become a profitable picture for Paramount. My Review.
Jim Carrey’s latest foray into the family picture genre, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” was met with a whimper this weekend as it was only able to muster up $18.4 million. Though it was far from a pricey investment for the studio, the Reviews for the movie were mixed and buzz has been non-existent. I mean, does anybody want to see a Jim Carrey movie with penguins? Even kids under 10 only go to see the movie because of the penguins. While some box office gurus are already calling this the end of Carrey’s career as a box office magician (he hasn’t had a film debut north of $20 million since “A Series of Unfortunate Events” back in 2004), I still have faith in the guy. After all, all brilliant actors are capable of making a comeback. Come on Jim!
“X-Men: First Class” once again dropped by 52% falling two spots to fourth place for a weekend total of $11.9 million. At its current pace, the mutant saga is headed to a total in the $140-150 million range, which would make it the lowest grossing installment in the series. Still, strong reviews and good word-of-mouth should enable the picture to perform well on DVD and give Fox a reason to green light a sequel. My Review.
Wrapping up the top five was “The Hangover Part 2” which saw its numbers decline by 46% for a weekend total of $10 million. With more than $233 million taken in so far, the Bangkok-set comedy is by far, the highest grossing movie of the year. It will hold that distinction until a group of noisy transforming aliens and a certain boy wizard enter the marketplace. My Review.
Elsewhere in the top ten, two word-of-mouth sensations – “Bridesmaids” (My Review) and Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” kept chugging by. The former, already a runaway hit, declined by a miniscule 29% to lift its cum to $136.4 million while the later, a critically acclaimed charmer, has already grossed $21.4 million so far. The comedy starring Owen Wilson as a struggling writer in love with Paris dropped a microscopic 16% in its second week in wide release even has a shot at topping the legendary director’s Academy-award winning “Hannah and Her Sisters” ($40 million) as his most successful film.
NEXT WEEK: The Pixar machine speeds into town as the best studio in Hollywood sets to release its twelfth motion picture, “Cars 2,” the sequel to arguably the studio’s worst movie to date (not exactly a bad thing). Considering that the original was a big hit for the studio (which film isn’t for them), expect this one to have a supersized opening – north of the $60 million plus taken in by the original in 2006. Also opening in theaters is the buzzy R-rated comedy “Bad Teacher” starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segal. Though reviews aren’t expected to be very good, the fantastic trailer should enable this one to perform pretty well.
Here’s the full box office top ten for the weekend (total domestic gross in parentheses):
- GREEN LANTERN – $53.1 Million
- SUPER 8 – $21.4 Million ($73 Million)
- MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS – $18.4 Million
- X-MEN: FIRST CLASS – $11.9 Million ($120.3 Million)
- THE HANGOVER PART 2 – $10 Million ($233 Million)
- KUNG FU PANDA 2 – $9 Million ($143.6 Million)
- BRIDESMAIDS – $7 Million ($136.4 Million)
- PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: OST – $6.6 Million ($220.7 Million)
- MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – $4.8 Million ($21.4 Million)
- JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER – $2.1 Million ($11 Million)
For the latest South Florida showtimes on all of the movies in the top ten, CLICK HERE.