FRIDAY FORECAST: ‘Robin’ of schlocksley

Posted by · 2:12 pm · May 14th, 2010

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

Fresh off a tepid debut at Cannes, Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe have unleashed their fifth collaboration upon the world. Forget Scorsese and DiCaprio, these guys are taking actor-director bromance to another level. Together, they’ve given us Oscar winning hits (“Gladiator”), non-Oscar winning hits (“American Gangster”) and non-Oscar winning non-hits (“A Good Year” and “Body of Lies”). Which category will “Robin Hood” fall under?

The one comparison everybody can’t stop making is to “Gladiator” so let’s start there. The sword and sandals epic also launched in May, of 2000, and slashed up a $51.4 million debut. That was at the very beginning of May with no other summer movies out in competition it should be noted. Both director and star have become much more prolific and popular since then so maybe we should assume that “Robin Hood” could do a little better.

Not so fast! Medieval/historical epics have had a torrid last few years at the box office. Scott’s own “Kingdom of Heaven” was supposed to kick off the 2006 summer season with a bang but only managed a $24.4 million debut and $58.8 million finish. Oliver Stone gave it the old college try with “Alexander” and found $17.5 million to start en route to a $43.9 million total. Granted, people hated that thing.

Most damning though, is 2004’s “King Arthur,” which had Bruckheimer summer pedigree but could still only debut with $19.5 million and finish with $66.4 million. Like “Robin Hood,” that project had a general whiff of “really, another King Arthur movie?”

All that said, I think we’re looking at a $34 million opening and second place finish for the band of merry men.

Summit took a look at the world and thought that there weren’t enough romantic comedies starring nosey teenagers and Vanessa Redgrave so now we have “Letters to Juliet.” This type of movie is perfect counter-programming and the studio wisely started sneak previews last weekend to raise awareness. It’s not going to be huge out of the gate, but I can see this one sticking around for a while. Let’s give it $16 million for the weekend and mark my words- Vanessa Redgrave is the new Meg Ryan.

Romantic comedy enthusiasts get a double dip this weekend as two hip hop stars-turned-actors fall in lurve in “Just Wright.” This movie lost me the second I found out Queen Latifah’s character’s last name is Wright. Is it just a weird coincidence that so many romantic films aimed at the African-American audience do this? “Poetic Justice.” “Jason’s Lyric.” “Deliver Us From Eva!” Anyway, Latifah has more pull than you might think and even with a low screen count, this should be able to hit $9 million for the weekend and make a tidy profit.

But what of “Iron Man 2?” Summer’s supposed early titan showed some chinks in the armor during its debut and has had a less than jaw-dropping weekday performance. I think we’re looking at a 60% drop, which would put it around $50 million for the weekend. Anything less than 55% would be a victory for Paramount, who are going to make an insane amount of money from this property regardless, but still might be scratching their heads wondering why it wasn’t more. Terrence Howard has an idea of why. (p.s. this theater owner is a genius)

I urge every single one of you in New York to go see “Daddy Longlegs” at the IFC Center. Virtually assured a place in my top 10 list at the end of the year, it will need all the help it can get at the box office.

What are you guys seeing?

→ 12 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Friday Forecast

12 responses so far

  • 1 5-14-2010 at 3:46 pm

    Joe said...

    That would be the best joke ever if they spelled Howard’s name right. It’s also a little less funny because I am a big fan of TERRENCE Howard. He suffered through a seriously underutilized role in the first IRON MAN, only to be kicked out the door once things heated up for his character.

  • 2 5-14-2010 at 3:51 pm

    Brian D said...

    Hey, that’s the Neptune in Seattle. Yay us!

  • 3 5-14-2010 at 6:17 pm

    MovieMan said...

    “Just Wright” is a terrible title, yes. The film is a bit better than it has any wright to be (Hahaha, like the pun? Neither do I.), but it’s still EXTREMELY predictable, and not even the charms of Queen Latifah can do anything to raise it above the level of average, inconsequential, meaningless fluff.

    “Letters to Juliet” is about on the level of, say, “Dear John,” a little better than “The Last Song,” not quite as good as “Remember Me.” It’s middling, predictable, a little trite. Not terrible, but not overly good, either.

    “Robin Hood” is the worst film of the weekend, actually, overlong, plodding, confusing. A few effective moments and performances, but it’s a pretty big misfire for Ridley Scott, who, for the record, hasn’t made a good film since “Black Hawk Down.”

  • 4 5-14-2010 at 10:22 pm

    Maxim said...

    Serious question time: is Daddy Longlegs about gals with long legs?

    If so, I might take the bait.

  • 5 5-15-2010 at 5:21 am

    tony rock said...

    So, did nobody see Matchstick Men? Anytime people discuss Scott’s recent filmography they rarely ever mention it. And for my money I thought it was pretty damn good (along with American Gansgter).

  • 6 5-15-2010 at 5:25 am

    JJ said...

    Matchstick is one of my favorite Ridley films. I love it.

    Seems like RH is on it’s way to 35-40 mill for the weekend, over 100 domestically, eventually. And the foreign numbers are great. I still don’t think that’ll make-up it’s reportedly monstrous budget (from theater $$).

  • 7 5-15-2010 at 9:35 am

    Gustavo H. Razera said...

    Matchstick is pretty good, yeah.

  • 8 5-15-2010 at 1:38 pm

    Al said...

    That Neptune theatre has some great marquees.

  • 9 5-15-2010 at 5:00 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I don’t get it. Guess you have to have seen Watchmen.

  • 10 5-15-2010 at 8:20 pm

    Al said...

    In the comic a giant monster thing dubbed “the squid” played an important role in the climax.

    The film, much to fans’ dismay, had no squid.

  • 11 5-15-2010 at 8:36 pm

    Al said...

    Sorry for the double post, but I couldn’t help passing this up.

    Yup, Neptune has killer marquees.

  • 12 5-16-2010 at 9:21 pm

    MovieMan said...

    For the record, “Matchstick Men” was great until the AWFUL last ten minutes ruined everything before it. And “American Gangster” was nothing more than cut-and-dry look at two gangsters, with no story surprises or any sort of innovation whatsoever. Both incredibly overrated films. Of the brothers, Tony Scott is much more reliable.