Audiences gave another, giant “meh” to Hollywood’s crop of new releases this weekend; making this the second week in a row to see box office grosses fall significantly over the same period last year. That means that, almost by default, Shrek Forever After takes top honors with another decent hold of approximately 59% over last weekend.
|2||Get Him to the Greek||$17,400,000||$17.4|
|4||Prince of Persia||$13,900,000||$59.4|
|5||Sex & the City 2||$12,650,000||$73.4|
|7||Iron Man 2||$7,783,000||$291.2|
|10||Letters to Juliet||$3,000,000||$43.3|
Remember a couple of years back when folks warned us that the writer’s strike might leave the summer 2010 box office season a bit thin? Try anorexic. Though audiences had a veritable cornucopia of new releases to sample this weekend – each with its own target demo – a perceived lack of quality has led to a genuine lack of interest among audiences. The result? The third week of the underperforming Shrek Forever After was able to take number one with an estimated take of just $25.3 million.
Compare that to this time last year when The Hangover debuted to almost $45 million or June 2008 when Kung Fu Panda earned just over $60 million. Of course, both of those films generated better reviews and more audience interest than the fourth entry in a ten year-old franchise. The only thing that Shrek 4 has going for it at this point is market saturation and its 3D price premium… Oh yeah, and the fact that no one much cared about the week’s new releases.
Heartiest of our bunch of freshmen was Get Him to the Greek, a spin-off of sorts from 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The latter was considered a modest hit; earning over $63 million from a budget of $30 million. Many thought that Greek, which reteamed Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in an R-rated plot more male-centric than Marshall, would have a better start than its predecessor. Turns out not so much.
Get Him to the Greek earned an estimated $17.4 million from its 2,697 engagements, putting it a bit under the $17.7 million debut of Sarah Marshall (which launched in April of 2008 in roughly the same number of theatres). This makes Greek the second summer release from producer Judd Apatow to fall short of expectations though, to be fair, few filmmakers could have lived up to the nearly-hysterical Apatow hype.
If Get Him to the Greek fell short of my expectations, the film Killers wildly exceeded them. The action-comedy starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl sounded like a second-rate knock-off of Mr. and Mrs. Smith when it was announced… minus the only element that made that movie watchable: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. As you might expect from a director that brought us The Ugly Truth, Killers is rocking a solid 14% Rotten Tomato score. This makes its third place finish with $16.1 million from 2,859 locations sort of spectacular. Too bad its budget is reportedly north of $80 million…
The widest release of the week was Fox’s Marmaduke, which launched in 3,213 theatres despite the fact that advertising for the PG rated film was nearly non-existent. Featuring the voice of Owen Wilson, Marmaduke managed a weak $11.3 million or barely over $1,000 per screen.
And that is still better than our final newcomer, Splice. The R-rated creature feature opened on 2,450 screens and earned an estimated $3,041 per… not what WB and Dark Castle were hoping for after hyping the Adrien Brody-starrer for the past three weeks straight.
Hollywood will continue to work through its issues next week as two new, but not entirely original, properties hit theatres: The A-Team and The Karate Kid. One of them has to generate some interest… just a little something is all I ask. Summer is supposed to be fun, you know?