Weekend Wrap-Up for May 14-16, 2010

Robin Hood On Target; Iron Man 2 Slips

By John Hamann

May 16, 2010

Pepper wants to be alone with the helmet, which we're guessing vibrates.

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For Robin Hood's director, Ridley Scott, this is a throwback to his 2005 Fox film, Kingdom of Heaven. Considered a domestic flop, Heaven opened to a much softer than expected $19.6 million stateside, and finished with a domestic tally of $47.4 million, $80 million short against its $130 million budget. The game changer was a huge $164 million overseas total, which turned Kingdom into a $211 worldwide earner, and a win for Fox. Kingdom of Heaven was my first in your face example that movies were no longer made with North Americans in mind – the audience was now global. This is why Universal gambled on Crowe, as he is considered more of a global draw than a domestic one.

The studio behind Robin Hood, Universal, was in desperate need of a hit. They are currently last amongst major studios, with only a 5.7% market share so far in 2010, which is only a nose ahead of upstart Lionsgate, which has a 5.1% market share. Universal is simply having a horrible year so far (or horrible decade), as everything they touch turns to stone. Their first film in 2010, Leap Year with Amy Adams, garnered only a $9.2 million opening and a $26 million domestic finish. The Wolf Man, which looked like it could possibly turn things around, opened to a not bad $31.5 million, but then imploded, finding only a $62 million finish against a $150 million budget (or more). Finally, Matt Damon in Green Zone seemed like a sure-fire winner, but it took place in Iraq, so... it was a $14.3 million opening with a $35 million domestic finish, despite a $100 million budget. At the very least, Robin Hood will remove the stench of failure from Universal, but remember this: the Kevin Costner Robin Hood earned $165.5 million domestic – a number this Robin Hood will never see. It also earned $225 million overseas, and had a budget of only $48 million - and all of that is in puny 1991 dollars.


Finishing third this weekend is Letters to Juliet, starring Amanda Seyfried, who shows she can open a film on her own. While not huge, Juliet did prove to be effective counter-programming against the likes of Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood, and will likely go down as a win for Summit Entertainment. Letters to Juliet opened to a not bad $13.8 million from 2,968 venues, and had an average of $4,633. It cost Summit $30 million to make, but The Hollywood Reporter says they reduced their risk by selling off the foreign rights (I would have sold the domestic rights and kept the foreign, but that's just me). Letters to Juliet was mixed almost down the middle at RottenTomatoes, coming in at 44% fresh.

For Seyfried, Letters to Juliet is another notch in the ingénue’s box office belt. Seyfried had her coming out party in Mamma Mia!, flanked by the likes of Meryl Streep. Mamma Mia opened to $27 million in 2008 before going on to earn over $600 million worldwide. She then took a misstep on the Megan Fox train (I'll blame Michael Bay for that too), as she appeared in Jennifer's Body with the Transformers star. That one flopped, opening to $7 million and finishing with just $16.5 million. She then opened Dear John to $30 million – basically on her own, but with the addition of the Nicolas Sparks' audience. Despite being terrible, it finished with over $80 million in domestic sales. What Seyfried needs now is good film to appear in, and she could be the next Julia Roberts.

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