SUNDAY CENTS: New releases ‘Dragon’ behind

Posted by · 12:21 pm · April 18th, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

Internet nerds once again failed to make their presence known at the multiplex as “Kick Ass” surrendered to the runner-up spot on a relatively weak frame. As significant as online and fanboy buzz can be, time and again it has led to disappointing debuts more than bank-breaking grosses. “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Grindhouse,” and “Snakes on a Plane” are just a few of the recent examples. If it wasn’t for the success of “Sin City” and “300,” Hollywood would probably disregard the internet all together.

But let’s start at the top. “How to Train Your Dragon” becomes the first film since “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” to return to the summit of the box office after a hiatus. A slim drop of 20% earned the animated comedy $20.0 million and ups the cume to $158.6 million after four weeks. The $229.8 million it would need to become the highest grossing non-“Shrek” film for DreamWorks Animation is not out of the question, although still a bit unlikely.

“Kick Ass” debuts with $19.8 million and will still end up profitable for Lionsgate and the filmmakers, but reiterates the ceiling for R-rated comic book adaptations. Coincidentally, the debut is almost identical to another R-rated action flick that Lionsgate bought after fanboys went nuts at preview footage- “Rambo.” It may have suffered from some younger kids buying tickets to “Dragon” and sneaking in, but it may have also suffered from the amount of people who get boners thinking about pre-teen girls with guns being significantly lower than expected.

“Death at a Funeral” winds up in fourth place with $17.0 million, but can boast the highest per theater average of any film in the top 10. If only everything Chris Rock touched had this kind of success, I wouldn’t be defending “Pootie Tang” on a daily basis as a criminally underseen masterpiece. Alas, it’s quickly on to the next incomprehensible remake for Rock (Akira Kurosawa if the rumors are true).

“Date Night” held reasonably well, preventing its disappointing debut from becoming disastrous. Another $17.3 million puts it just below the $50 million mark after ten days. For a second there, it seemed like it may end up grossing less than Shawn Levy’s first attempt at the date crowd, “Just Married,” and that would have been embarrassing to everyone.

In limited release, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” played like gangbusters in New York and L.A., while “The Secret in Their Eyes” had a solid debut on 10 screens. Somehow “The Joneses” didn’t do atrocious business and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” continues to be the indie-sleeper of the year.

I saw “The Ghost Writer” this week and for a while I thought the only bad thing about it was Kim Cattrall’s horrible performance, but then the last five minutes ruined everything and I can’t get that bad taste out of my mouth. Still, infinitely better than “Shutter Island.”

What did you guys see? Here are the weekend’s top domestic grossers, courtesy of Exhibitor Relations:

→ 27 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

27 responses so far

  • 1 4-18-2010 at 1:08 pm

    Joe said...

    Boy, I must go see this Dragon movie.
    Chad – your Chris Rock jokes are funny, but I’m confused. It’s not like he’s ruining all-time classics. And it’s not like he’s the only one. (For example, this is also the 2nd wacko Neil LaBute remake.)

    I agree on both accounts with your “Ghost Writer” assessment. If Kim Catrall weren’t actually British, I would’ve seriously questioned her accent. And the film was a nice exercise in style until the ridiculous last scene. I loved “Shutter Island”, though.

  • 2 4-18-2010 at 1:50 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    British-born or otherwise, feel free to question Kim Cattrall’s accent. It’s about as lousy as mine.

  • 3 4-18-2010 at 1:52 pm

    Andrew F said...

    While I agree that the final scene of “Ghost Writer” was a bit ludicrous, I loved the final shot.

    And are we really that surprised “Kick-Ass” didn’t do as well as the buzz projected? I’d be interested to see how many downloads it got this weekend: maybe the fanboys stayed in. Teenagers can’t get in, non-fanboys are going “What’s Kick-Ass?”, squeemish about cursing at the box office attendant, or think “That’s a stupid costume”, and you’ve got a disappointment.

  • 4 4-18-2010 at 2:46 pm

    ScottC said...

    What didn’t you like about the last scene? The copy room/note bit, or the very end? I think the very end fit the film (which I loved, regardless of Kim Cattrall).

  • 5 4-18-2010 at 2:47 pm

    Aaron said...

    Kim Cattrall was not THAT bad in The Ghost Writer.

  • 6 4-18-2010 at 3:30 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Every piece of information that was revealed post-book publishing was pointless, cheap and annoying, no matter how expertly it was conveyed.

  • 7 4-18-2010 at 4:50 pm

    Richard said...

    what is it with Olivia Williams that makes her the director’s favorite in “reveal” moments –just like in the “sixth sense”.

  • 8 4-18-2010 at 5:21 pm

    Jake said...

    Kick Ass was meh.

  • 9 4-18-2010 at 5:33 pm

    Craig said...

    I actual didn’t mind the reveal in The Ghost Writer, but the passing of the note seemed rather retarded. Why did he have to make her aware that he knew the truth? He knew that the previous ghost writer had ended up dead, and should have realized he was signing his own death certificate. Still, it didn’t ruin the whole movie.

  • 10 4-18-2010 at 6:36 pm

    JJ said...

    Yeah, I still give high praise to Ghost Writer OVERALL … but the last 5 minutes annoyed me (not the last shot).

    Still, I was enraptured for almost the entire time. That means a lot to me.

  • 11 4-18-2010 at 6:37 pm

    JJ said...

    And I, too, didn’t find Kim Cattrall to be “bad”. She wasn’t the best, and her accent was off, but I think she nailed that kind of part pretty well.

  • 12 4-19-2010 at 4:40 am

    ninja said...

    Next on geek-hyped flops list (not that Kick Ass is a flop in regards to modest budget, only in regards to hype) is Machete. I don`t know what they were thinking when they greenlit this movie but it`s gonna be a trainwreck.

  • 13 4-19-2010 at 5:04 am

    half empty said...

    Ninja, I was going to make some response about how Machete was dirt cheap to make and didn’t need anybody but the fanboys to show up, but then I saw the budget is actually $20 million, which is at the absolute high end of what I expected. Then I thought, at least it’s probably got that shitty weekend in September to itself…but no, it’s opening against The American with George Clooney as a hit man. Machete’s not even the only hit man movie opening that weekend.

    I’m not saying it will lose money, but I don’t see it being all that profitable, either.

  • 14 4-19-2010 at 6:09 am

    Mike_M said...

    I saw Kick Ass this weekend and I enjoyed it, not the perfect at all, but fun.

    On the weekend of 9/3 I know I will be seeing both The American and Machete…

  • 15 4-19-2010 at 11:35 am

    Reub said...

    I really enjoyed “Kick-Ass” – it’s probably the best wide-release I’ve seen this year… I know that’s not saying much but regardless.

    It expected it to under-perform. The film simply doesn’t have mass appeal.

    As for “Machete” – I agree with the consensus so far. I don’t see it making much money. I’m very interested in “The American.”

  • 16 4-19-2010 at 11:48 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Those tagging “The American” as some kind of broad hitman thriller would do well to read the novel on which it is based. And check out Anton Corbijn’s first film.

  • 17 4-19-2010 at 1:04 pm

    Perry said...

    I just read over on superherohype that Lionsgate announced “Kick-Ass” as the winner of the weekend, beating out “Dragon” by a couple hundred thousand. Interesting stuff.

  • 18 4-19-2010 at 1:09 pm

    Reub said...

    Yup… “Kick-Ass” squeezed past “Dragon” to top the box office… by a mere $200,000. Has there even been a closer race?

  • 19 4-19-2010 at 1:12 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    March 12, 1993- CB4 beat Fire in the Sky by $5,966

  • 20 4-19-2010 at 2:03 pm

    ninja said...

    Centurion looks like another geek-only flop in making.

  • 21 4-19-2010 at 9:31 pm

    Danny King said...

    Chad – I’m similarly negative regarding “The Ghost Writer,” but for very different reasons. For me, I thought the story as well as the ending was very clever, but I thought the characters, particularly McGregor’s, were terribly defined. I didn’t care about him at all, which is a tough thing to deal with in a “thriller” like this.

    And regarding “The American,” I definitely plan to see “Control” before it. Heard a lot of interesting things about it.

  • 22 4-19-2010 at 9:46 pm

    ronel said...

    i want to watch kick ass but i have no time..huuh

  • 23 4-19-2010 at 10:52 pm

    Glenn said...

    Maybe if this were summer then those “Date Night” numbers could be see as disappointing, but just like last week I fail to see how they can’t be happy with the figures it is posting. Especially since it looked so horrible (and was).

  • 24 4-20-2010 at 6:53 am

    Al said...

    Kick Ass will be profitable in the end, considering domestic, dvd sales, and foreign box office. I dont see how some people consider it a failure. Lets also not forget that unlike other recent hype films, it wasnt made on a 100million+ budget.

    There is also the matter of people saying interest wasn’t up, lets not forget the Carmike Cinemas nonsense. As well as all the kiddies who bought Dragon tickets and decided to sneak in.

  • 25 4-20-2010 at 7:15 am

    John said...

    I’m surprised noone’s mentioned Watchmen yet. Has everyone already forgot about that overhyped flop?

  • 26 4-20-2010 at 7:25 am

    JJ said...

    Watchmen was my number 2 movie of 2009 behind Star Trek.

    I don’t know, I was just completely taken by the stylistic choices in Watchmen. I loved it visually, conceptually, & for some decent performances. As a whole, I loved it.

  • 27 4-20-2010 at 7:34 am

    half empty said...

    For the record, I’m looking forward to The American and don’t expect it to be a big, dumb hit man thriller. I’ve seen Control (very good), but I haven’t read the Booth novel (looks interesting, though). However, I would be very surprised if it wasn’t marketed as a high middle-brow thriller in the vein of Michael Clayton, even if it’s nothing like that. It is being released by Focus who sold In Bruges as a zany Guy Ritchie-esque crime comedy. Not a knock on Focus, they put out some great stuff, they just don’t seem afraid to sell what they’ve got.