SUNDAY CENTS: ‘Karate’ top

Posted by · 2:32 pm · June 13th, 2010

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

After weeks of disappointing returns and underperforming titles, the box office was saved once again by Will Smith. Only this time he did it not by putting out a new film, but by having unprotected sex with his wife twelve years ago. His fairy dust box office genes have passed on to son Jaden, who stars in our number one movie this weekend, “The Karate Kid.”

The groans were loud and plentiful when this remake was announced and even more so when Smith was cast. At some point, the groans must have turned into quiet, shameful anticipation as Sony saw a debut just a little shy of what major titles like “The Incredible Hulk” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” have done on this same weekend. $56 million to be exact, proving that audiences aren’t exactly tired of Hollywood’s unoriginality after all.

But let’s focus on the positive. Summer 2010 was saved by a mid-budget film with all three main roles filled by minorities. Now that’s original.

Fox’s big budget adaptation of “The A-Team” required eleven writers to get Bradley Cooper’s sarcastic quips just right, but audiences went with plan B (that gem only required one writer) and handed the motley crew a $26 million, second place debut. Considering “The Brady Bunch Movie” could open with $27.1 million and “The Dukes of Hazzard” even managed $38.0 million, there’s nothing else to call this result but pathetic.

It’ll be lucky to cross $65 million domestically and will join “Land of the Lost” in the pile of ill-advised wastes of money, brought to you by TV Land. Doesn’t Will Smith have a cousin or something they could have put in this thing?

Three time champ, “Shrek Forever After,” surrenders the throne and dips to third with $15.8 million. It crept passed the $200 million mark and is about to overtake “How to Train Your Dragon,” but will still go down as the first $70 million+ opening, threepeating disappointment.

Second weekends were mostly brutal for last week’s crop, denying any of them the opportunity to make any lasting impact at the box office. “Get Him to the Greek” fared best with a 43% drop to $10.1 million, but it won’t match “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and possibly not even “Funny People.” The last four weeks simply gave us films that started slow and exited fast.

“Robin Hood” and “Iron Man 2” will pass $100 million and $300 million, respectively, tomorrow but their respective studios will be breathing sighs of relief rather than throwing parties and handing out bonuses.

Encouraging results were also found by IFC’s “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” and Roadside’s “Winter’s Bone.” Both films earned more than $20,000 per screen and set themselves up with a chance to be remembered come Oscar time. The Rivers doc is especially impressive, given that I assumed looking directly into that woman’s face for 90 minutes straight would turn you instantly into stone.

This week I saw a bunch of films at the event I attended in Germany, none of which will ever cross your path. I also trekked over to the Vista for “Get Him to the Greek” on Thursday. I thought Russell Brand gave a seriously great performance in an otherwise awful movie. The message and lessons seem to be piled on thicker and thicker with each Apatow production and this was little more than a 90 minute anti-drug PSA. No thanks.

What did you guys see? Here are this week’s top grossing films courtesy of Exhibitor Relations:

→ 20 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

20 responses so far

  • 1 6-13-2010 at 2:50 pm

    Hans said...

    Heh…at my Jeopardy audition last Sunday, we were told saying “What is Joan Rivers?” as a response would be perfectly acceptable.

  • 2 6-13-2010 at 3:03 pm

    Estefan said...

    Word-of-mouth has been pretty solid for The Karate Kid and reviews were a lot better than expected, so audiences found something to go so see, finally. That said, it better enjoy it big opening weekend, because Toy Story 3 is going to steal everybody away. Just watch as the other films have monumental drops next week.

    For me, I’m looking forward to talking my first cinema visit since Iron Man 2 over a month ago. Bring on Woody and Buzz! And of course, I will gladly chip in for those glasses.

  • 3 6-13-2010 at 5:14 pm

    hopeless pedant said...

    The grosses for Winter’s Bone are likely enough to give it a chance to be remembered (a la Frozen River), but the insider specialized business response is that it was disappointing – even with its drawbacks (the Sundance anvil, rural setting, no names, reviews pointing out how depressing it is), the thought was that this – based on the reviews and its high-profile theatre – should easily do over $100,o00 for the weekend, likely more.

    It will do a PSA of around $21,000 in four of the best theatres in the country, with amazing reviews, full page NY & LA Times ads of Friday.

    To put this in context, Solitary Man, which had an OK (better than expected) opening did as PSA of $23,000 in four similar theatres.

    Away We Go – which ended up very disappointing – exactly a year ago did $32,000 in four theatres.

    Hurt Locker – which we all know was underwhelming, and only did the gross it did because Summit spent money like crazy to increase its visibility – did $36,000 PSA late June last year which slightly better reviews.

    There is clearly major resistance to Winter’s Bone – it is clearly evident from these grosses.

    Roadside Attractions does not have Focus’ or Summit’s deep pockets. They will obviously keep supporting the film and maintain a solid schedule of opening around the country. But I’d be stunned, based on these numbers, if it ever gets above an ultimate $5 million gross nationally, and likely it will be lower.

    With 10 BP slots, receptive writers and possible year-end recongition for acting, this could still figure later on. But the prospects look less good than before these grosses.

  • 4 6-13-2010 at 5:19 pm

    Jeorge. said...

    “Roadside Attractions does not have Focus’ or Summit’s deep pockets.”

    That kind of says it, doesn’t it?

  • 5 6-13-2010 at 5:23 pm

    Will said...

    i found the A team to be a rather enjoyable action movie the Karate Kid was decent with a rather good performance from Jackie Chan

  • 6 6-13-2010 at 5:25 pm

    hopeless pedant said...

    To some extent, but even companies with big pockets – Disney, Warners, Paramount recently – have dropped chasing the specialized market after overspending on marketing and awards campaigns. Lionsgate has left the field almost entirely.

    I really, really want Winter’s Bone to work. Roadside has done a great job building up awareness, getting the best theatres, encouraging great reviews. And they went off-season to their great credit, rather than waiting post-Toronto to go in the fall. I hope the film can achieve WOM and hang on.

    But they’ve spent a small fortune already for a film that likely needs to do $10 million or more to justify this. Joan Rivers – which mainly played the same theatres – looks like it outgrossed it side by side, with smaller ads, lower profile, much lower acquisition price.

    Sony Classics has survived for a number of reasons (including the studio tie ins internationally, cable, DVD) but also because they don’t overspend, and know how to cut and run when a film works (most recently Mother and Child, which they saw from its opening would never really find an audience).

    This seems to be Roadside’s big chance at stepping up and filling the partial void caused by the loss of so many companies. As I said, they have reason to worry at the moment, at least as pertains to this film.

  • 7 6-13-2010 at 5:36 pm

    j said...

    Wow Karate Kid won by over 100% even though A-Team’s budget was much more than 100% more expensive.

    First #1 movie whose opening weekend exceeded its budget since Valentine’s Day.

  • 8 6-13-2010 at 5:40 pm

    hopeless pedant said...

    KK is also a bonanza for exhibitors – its film rental (preset up front if done as usual with Sony) likely was, with expectations of lower grosses, is likely nothing astronomical. And it will likely have legs and of course a terrific concessions film.

  • 9 6-13-2010 at 5:49 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Maybe it was also the prospect of seeing more childish nationalism. Let me guess, the kid masters Kung Fu in, like, a month, and promptly beats the Chinese kids who’ve studied their whole lives? I’ll pass.

  • 10 6-13-2010 at 5:54 pm

    JJ said...

    Really enjoyed Get Me to the Greek and Karate Kid this past week/weekend. A-Team? No thanks, I’ll pass.

  • 11 6-13-2010 at 7:24 pm

    tony rock said...

    @Robert Hamer…the new KK actually respects many aspects of Chinese culture and tradition, the message is in no way nationalistic. Besides, he only learns kung-fu because a Chinese kung-fu master (Chan) teaches him. I dont see the nationalism there.

  • 12 6-13-2010 at 9:12 pm

    Bobmcbob said...

    that’s really insulting Chad; Will Smith didn’t have any accidental kids

  • 13 6-13-2010 at 10:29 pm

    The Irishman said...

    There’s no implication his son is accidental; unprotected sex is just as necessary for a planned pregnancy.

  • 14 6-14-2010 at 1:43 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    ^^What the Irishman said. How else does one get pregnant?

  • 15 6-14-2010 at 2:48 am

    Chris said...

    Hey Chad, I am from Germany. What kind of event did you attend there and which films did you watch? Maybe I know them. Maybe not…
    And, maybe most of all, did you like it there or did the thousands of German flags scare you away? It’s soccer World Cup; flags aren’t usually that widealy spread. ;)

  • 16 6-14-2010 at 7:23 am

    Joe said...

    Mr. Hamer: I saw “Karate Kid”, and I’d actually agree with you for the most part. In fact, I’m not even sure if he had a month to practice. Although to be fair, if I’ve only got a month, my teacher might as well be Jackie Chan. And also, “promptly beats” isn’t an apt description. More like “scraps and claws his way to victory”.

  • 17 6-14-2010 at 11:27 am

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Chris- It was a gathering of international artists in Dresden. The films screened were documentaries, shorts or experimental works from France, Quebec and Belgium. And I lived in Europe for 13 years so I’m no stranger to the glory of the World Cup. I loved seeing the flags and the excitement.

  • 18 6-14-2010 at 4:01 pm

    j said...

    Kind of disappointing that Iron Man 2 can’t get to 300 mil in 6 weekends, and Robin Hood can’t get to 100 mil in 5 weekends.

  • 19 6-14-2010 at 4:09 pm

    Maxim said...

    Not to be that guy, but I found the opening paragraph tastless and unfunny. Chad, sometimes, even your brand of “wit” could benefit from some restraint.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • 20 6-14-2010 at 4:23 pm

    checkitoutt said...

    Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work just came out, and I saw it with some of my buddies over the weekend. I have to say it was probably the best movie, documentary or otherwise, that I have seen all summer. Top five all year