FRIDAY FORECAST: Is it ogre yet?

Posted by · 2:16 pm · May 21st, 2010

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

That fat, green face to the right is the most successful animated character in the history of film. You guys have made him an icon of cinema greater than Don Corleone, Marty McFly and Jack Sparrow as far as box office receipts are concerned. Whatever hilarious adventure he undertakes with his wise-cracking donkey sidekick, you are game for. His latest batch of hijinks comes with the laziest pun title ever and a general feeling of distaste from the third installment.

“Shrek Forever After” is the big debut this week and will easily win the weekend. There hasn’t been a big family film released in eight weeks (Sorry Brendan Fraser) and the market is ripe for a new blockbuster. The thing is opening in every theater across the country with 3D prices ballooning up to $20 in some places. All the ingredients are there for the film to best the $140.5 million opening of “Shrek the Third.” Except that people generally thought “Shrek the Third” was terrible. How these discerning viewers found anything different at all from film to film in this series is beyond me, but I gave up after the wretched first so what do I know?

Any time a franchise entry disappoints, the next film takes a hit and so I’m thinking that “Shrek Forever After” will hover around the $100 million mark for the weekend. Could do $95 million or could do $105 million, but nowhere near that $140.5 million. Regardless, the film will make oodles of money for DreamWorks and Mike Myers will continue to confuse doing a Scottish accent for funny in more films.

The only other film taking a swipe at the box office this week is “MacGruber.” The Betty White episode of “Saturday Night Live” was the first one I saw in years and served as my introduction to this character. I’ve never seen “MacGyver,” but I get the gist of the joke and it’s not one I’d be particularly keen on seeing for an hour and a half. “SNL” characters are generally poison at the box office with the last attempt being “The Ladies Man” in 2000. That opened with a miserable $8.0 million en route to a $20.1 million finish.

A better comparison might be the not quite officially affiliated with “SNL” product, “Hot Rod.” Opening in the summer of 2007, the daredevil comedy took in $6.1 million opening weekend and $16.1 million total. Needless to say, not much is expected of “MacGruber.” I’ll say $8 million for the weekend and a massive blow to all (both) Val Kilmer fans desperate for the guy to get back on the A-list.

“Robin Hood” should find itself with a better hold than “Iron Man 2.” Word of mouth has been fine among the target audience and they won’t be hurt by the two films opening. A 45% dip would give it another $20 million for the weekend and anything less than that will be a let-down for Universal.

“Iron Man 2” could lose another 50% of its audience and land with $26 million, continuing its slow course to $300 million.

What are you guys seeing?

→ 17 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Friday Forecast

17 responses so far

  • 1 5-21-2010 at 3:04 pm

    JJ said...

    I don’t see Shrek Forever After with more than 90.

    I think Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood will both have 50%ish drops.

    I think Letters to Juliet will have a nice-ish hold (maybe 8?).

    And I don’t think MacGruber will be that big, also based on mediocre reviews (7, 8?).

    I see lots of not-quite-met expectation across the board.

  • 2 5-21-2010 at 3:12 pm

    Emily said...

    I like Shrek 1.

    Also, I think MacGruber will do much better than Hot Rod. Andy Samberg really wasn’t a name back then. Will Forte is a bigger name now than Samberg was then. Plus, MacGruber is an actual sketch while Hot Rod isn’t, and they’ve been advertising MacGruber everywhere. And, it’s probably the biggest stupid comedy in theaters since Hot Tub Time Machine.

  • 3 5-21-2010 at 3:14 pm

    Estefan said...

    Oh, I think there was a major difference between the first and third. The first was fresh and funny and had endearing characters. Shrek the Third was tired and the characters looked bored and they were done on computer. Needless, as much as I really enjoy the first two and feel they hold up incredibly well, I’m sick of this franchise and I don’t plan on seeing Forever After.

    It will do incredibly well, nonetheless, and will hold up decidedly well until Toy Story 3 comes along and destroys the competition. If that doesn’t become the highest-grossing film of the year, I will be very surprised. Unlike Shrek, Woody and Buzz haven’t outlasted their welcome and I can’t think of a film that will hit big with every demographic. Everybody is going to watch it.

  • 4 5-21-2010 at 4:03 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Time to astonish you all, no doubt, by saying how much I hate Shrek.

  • 5 5-21-2010 at 4:23 pm

    JJ said...

    I loved the first one (at the time), truly. But I loathed 2, and especially 3. And having seen the 1st Shrek over the last few years (once in a while), the magic went away quite a bit. This 4th isn’t making me flock to the theater.

  • 6 5-21-2010 at 4:43 pm

    MovieMan said...

    “MacGruber” is certainly not perfect (the third act is lazy), but it’s hilarious when it’s funny, and the whole film is more hit than miss. Doesn’t quite reach the heights of “Wayne’s World,” but I’d say it’s on the level of the underappreciated “A Night at the Roxbury.”

    As someone who thought that all three “Shrek” films were either absolutely great (“Shrek”), very, very good (“Shrek 2”), or respectably fun if uneven (“Shrek the Third”), “Shrek Forever After” officially moves the series over to the land of Tedium. Not a disaster, but not as good as it could’ve been, especially in a thus-far solid series.

  • 7 5-21-2010 at 4:45 pm

    Monica said...

    I like Shrek 1 and 2, but I have no interest in seeing this 4.
    I guess I’ll see Robin Hood.

  • 8 5-21-2010 at 4:52 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    @ Guy: Wait, which one? The first one, or all of them?

  • 9 5-21-2010 at 5:19 pm

    Craig said...

    All the Shrek movies are terrible. Couldn’t tell you which one is which, but they’re all varying levels of “painful to sit through”.

  • 10 5-21-2010 at 5:45 pm

    Jake D said...

    Shrek is good-bordering-on-great. Shrek 2 was a completely unwatchable mess. Never touched 3.

    So…the Shrek series wore out its welcome quite a while ago (to me).

  • 11 5-21-2010 at 7:11 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    The first Shrek is insufferable pop culture references and poop jokes spoken by annoying, garish characters, built around a story with a less than honorable moral. “An ugly person and an attractive person find love together? That’s nice. Wait, no, she’s ugly too. Better stick to your own kind kids”

  • 12 5-21-2010 at 7:54 pm

    Glenn said...

    Seeing how abhorrent “Shrek 2” was gave me newfound respect for the original, which was also abhorrent, just not as much. Retched films, those.

  • 13 5-21-2010 at 10:37 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    I saw MacGruber tonight. Naturally, it’s hit-and-miss. But when it hits, it does pretty damn well. An element that’s new to the film (that hasn’t been quite explored in the MacGruber sketches) is basically the way they create MacGruber into a completely unlikable prick who is often an asshole for no apparent reason. It takes the old action movie trope of the hero killing a bad guy only to deliver some punny one-liner and turns it on its ear, as MacGruber (the character) lacks the competence and wit to even do that much–his responses are often on par with that annoying kid in a Halo deathmatch teabagging the corpse of the n00b he just pwn’d. And the fact that he devotes so much more of his time and expertise to petty vengeance rather than any actual investigative skill had me howling in places.

    Plus, there’s one moment I dare not spoil, but it’s a strong, early contender for the year’s funniest (and WTF-ing-est) scene.

  • 14 5-21-2010 at 10:57 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    “on par with that annoying kid in a Halo deathmatch teabagging the corpse of the n00b he just pwn’d.”

    is it too late for Universal to get this on the poster?

  • 15 5-22-2010 at 5:38 am

    JJ said...

    Hmm, early reports (Nikki Finke, have Shrek Forever After & MacGruber bombing (in relative terms, of course. MacGruber much moreso). Decent holds for Iron Man 2 & Robin Hood; nothing great. And a very nice hold for Letters to Juliet. That’ll hold around for a while, me guesses.

  • 16 5-22-2010 at 9:39 am

    Emily said...

    Ok I was totally wrong on how well MacGruber would do. 1.8 on Friday? Ouch.

  • 17 5-23-2010 at 10:38 am

    twc said...

    “the most successful animated character in the history of film.”

    What about mickey mouse?

    I mean I guess he was mainly in short films, but considering fantasia is one of the highest grossing movies when adjusted…..hum….