It looks like negative word of mouth was indeed a factor for this weekend’s highest-profile debut. After earning decent midnight and Friday numbers, Green Lantern fell off by an estimated 22% on Saturday – giving it a three day opening of just $52.6 million.
|3||Mr. Popper’s Penguins||$18,200,000||$18.2|
|4||X-Men: First Class||$11,500,000||$119.9|
|5||The Hangover Part II||$9,635,000||$232.6|
|6||Kung Fu Panda 2||$8,700,000||$143.3|
|8||Pirates of the Caribbean 4||$6,236,000||$220.3|
|9||Midnight in Paris||$5,237,000||$21.8|
No matter how you slice it, Warner Brothers has to be disappointed with the current estimate for their much-hyped launch of Green Lantern. Not only did the DC hero fail to live up to the studio’s own expectations (which were slashed earlier this week to reflect the film’s negative critical buzz) but, at this point, GL is coming in under that other big, green, super-powered miss: Universal’s The Incredible Hulk.
On this weekend in 2008, the Hulk reboot brought in $55.4 million – a disappointment in a summer that also featured Iron Man and The Dark Knight. The same frame in 2007 brought Fox’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; which opened to $58 million with reviews that were only slightly more-favorable than GL’s current 24% Tomato reading. Of course, any disappointment WB may be feeling is slight in comparison to their 2010 debut of Jonah Hex. Clearly, Green Lantern is a blockbuster in comparison to that title but what film can’t make the same claim?
The film that Warner Brothers would most like Green Lantern to be compared to is probably their own Batman Begins. Six years ago, Christopher Nolan’s reboot launched with $48.7 million. Although that was considered underwhelming at the time, I think we all know that an incredibly profitable franchise was born of that “disappointment” – a formula the studio was hoping to recapture with Green Lantern. Batman Begins was not saddled with GL’s negative reviews, of course; nor did it have the benefit of higher 3D ticket prices in over half of its locations. With this weekend’s estimate the lowest of this year’s other superhero debuts – Thor and X-Men: First Class – the future of the Green Lantern corps looks dim.
The weekend’s second new title, Fox’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins, was also a bit of a disappointment with its estimate of $18.2 million from 3,338 locations. Though the family film saw a modest increase from Friday to Saturday, it was not enough to claim second place. That honor went to Super 8, last weekend’s number one film. Though its estimated $37 million debut turned out to be a bit optimistic (the real number turned out to be $35.4 million), JJ Abrams’ sci-fi title redeemed itself with a second week hold of just under 60%.
One year ago Toy Story 3 debuted to a giant $110 million which means that, overall, this weekend was down by more than 20%. Luckily, Cars 2 and Transformers 3 are lined up to rescue this summer’s box office from its June slump because Hal Jordan was clearly not up to the task.