Weekend Wrap-Up for May 21-23, 2010

No Good News for Box Office, Shrek, MacGruber

By John Hamann

May 23, 2010

Shrek has been unpleasantly surprised!

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Robin Hood is third, and despite being a film for adults, it continues to have a rough go of it, at least domestically. Robin Hood earned another $18.7 million this weekend after debuting last weekend with a soft $36 million. The Russell Crowe/Ridley Scott re-imagining dropped 48%, much like the 51% drop that Scott's Kingdom of Heaven saw in its second weekend (Kingdom earned $47 million domestically, and $164 million overseas). Robin Hood has already earned over $100 million overseas, so like Kingdom, Universal is going to be bailed out by international audiences, as Robin Hood is not going to come close to recouping its $200 million budget stateside. What's not going to happen (thankfully) is that Russell Crowe will not be rebuilding his image in North America; however, this guy isn't going down without a fight (or throwing a phone).

Fourth goes to Letters to Juliet, the lone bright spot in the top ten. Letters, after opening to $13.5 million in the previous frame, held quite well, earning $9.1 million. The Summit Entertainment release dipped only 33%, the second best hold in the top ten. Letters to Juliet cost Summit only $30 million make, and they sold some foreign rights to lower that figure even further. For star Amanda Seyfried, a couple of more good holds turns this one into a fair sized hit, and could make it her coming out party; however, Sex in the City 2 could have something to say about that. Currently Letters to Juliet has earned a solid $27.4 million.

Just Wright, Queen Latifah's romantic comedy, finishes in fifth place. Just Wright also had a big second weekend drop, going from an $8.2 million debut last weekend (double that of MacGruber) to only $4.2 million this weekend. That gives the Fox Searchlight release a drop of 49%, and brings the total for this one up to only $14.6 million – but as you'll see in a moment, next to MacGruber, even Queen Latifah looks good.

New release MacGruber finishes sixth, and fails miserably at turning some good early buzz into sleeper success. MacGruber earned a woeful $4.1 million from 2,551 venues, giving it an ugly average of only $1,607. Universal Pictures distributed this one, but for the first time in a long while, they are actually not to blame. This time it's Relativity Media's fault, with a little bit of SNL's Lorne Michaels thrown in. The business behind MacGruber is probably the best thing about it. Relativity and Michaels/Goldwyn paid only $10 million to make MacGruber, and as David Mumpower said yesterday, this one may not even earn that before it leaves theatres. The moviemaking and marketing were simply stupid here, and make films like Tommy Boy look like masterpieces (15 years ago, Tommy Boy opened to twice the amount that MacGruber did).


Date Night is seventh, as the Tina Fey/Steve Carrell comedy enjoys its seventh weekend of release. Date Night was one of the few small droppers this weekend, as Date Night earned another $2.8 million and fell only 26%. 20th Century Fox has now turned this small comedy into a $90.7 million earner, against a budget of only $55 million.

Even A Nightmare on Elm Street gets ahead of How to Train Your Dragon this weekend, as the animated film got robbed of its 3D screens. Nightmare earned $2.3 million and dropped 51%. It has a running total of $59.3 million against a budget of $35 million. How to Train Your Dragon dropped 63% this weekend. It earned $1.9 million compared to $5 million last weekend. This really shows the importance of those 3D venues. Dragon has now earned $210.9 million against a budget of $165 million. Dragon has a worldwide total approaching $500 million.

Finishing tenth this weekend is an unexpected contender. Kites, a sort-of Bollywood flick (with some Mexican stars thrown in the mix), earned $953,000 for Reliance Big Pictures. It was playing in 207 theaters, and had a venue average of $4,602. Kites is 85% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, so it's clearly drawing some positive attention overall.

Overall, the box office had no chance of keeping up with last year as a year ago this weekend was the Memorial Day frame when Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian debuted to a disappointing $54.2 million, and Terminator Salvation started its flop with $42.6 million. Three-day totals last year came in at $169.8 million. This year, with lackluster being the theme of the weekend, the top 12 films earned $143.5 million. Next weekend, things remain sequel-y. Sex and the City 2 gets started over the long weekend, and is joined by Jake Gyllenhaal in Price of Persia: The Sands of Time, a film I would be nervous about, as it carries a $150 million dollar price tag.

Top Weekend Box Office for 5/21/10-5/23/10 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Shrek Forever After DreamWorks $71,250,000 New $71,250,000
2 Iron Man 2 Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios $26,600,000 - 48.9% $251,265,000
3 Robin Hood Universal Pictures $18,700,000 - 48.1% $66,100,000
4 Letters to Juliet Summit Entertainment $9,100,000 - 32.8% $27,426,241
5 Just Wright Fox Searchlight Pictures $4,225,000 - 49.0% $14,631,640
6 MacGruber Rogue Pictures $4,100,000 New $4,100,000
7 Date Night 20th Century Fox $2,825,000 - 26.1% $90,660,314
8 A Nightmare on Elm Street New Line Cinema $2,285,000 - 50.9% $59,931,000
9 How to Train Your Dragon DreamWorks Pictures $1,850,000 - 63.0% $210,940,000
10 Kites Reliance Big Pictures $952,682 New $952,682
11 The Back-Up Plan CBS Films $900,000 - 62.3% $35,876,777
12 Babies Focus $707,813 -29% $5,095,636
  Also Opening/Notables
  Solitary Man Anchor Bay $89,000 New $89,000
  Racing Dreams Hannover House $21,559 New $21,559
  Princess Kaiulani Roadside Attractions $140,000 -25% $420,000
  Furry Vengeance Summit Entertainment $515,000 - 77.0% $16,115,766
  Death at a Funeral MGM $550,000 - 51.7% $41,475,000
  Clash of the Titans Warner Bros. Pictures $350,000 - 71.6% $161,000,000
  Avatar 20th Century Fox $170,000 - 49.3% $748,803,160
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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