Weekend Wrap-Up for June 4-6, 2010
Shrek Defines Slow Summer Start With Three-peat
By John Hamann
June 6, 2010
It's no secret that Universal was desperate for a hit. The studio's last six films have been domestic disappointments, with only critically ravaged flicks like The Wolf Man and Robin Hood opening over $30 million (and then folding quickly after opening). What has worked for Universal in the last year is comedy, as It's Complicated and Couples Retreat were both hits. It's Complicated opened to $22 million in in December last year, and went on to earn $112.7 million domestically, or over five times its opening gross. It earned a similar amount overseas. Couples Retreat opened to $34.3 million, finished with $109 million and earned another $60 million overseas. For producer Judd Apatow, Get Him to The Greek may help eliminate the bad taste left by Funny People, last summer's Adam Sandler dramedy that failed to earn more than $50 million.
Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl manage a fourth place finish for Killers, a Lionsgate entry that has the danger label "Not Screened For Critics" (there should be a law that says that statement MUST be on the movie poster). Killers opened to the low end of expectations, but I would say anything over $10 million should be good news for these two actors. Killers earned $16.1 million over its first three days from 2,859 venues. It had an average of $5,631. Sadly, this was Lionsgate's most expensive production ever, at $75 million, but like Summit's Letters to Juliet, they wisely sold off foreign rights to reduce their exposure to risk, likely after they saw how bad this lame donkey looked.
This was a film with problems, even though the actual production went off without a hitch. Ashton Kutcher has seen two of his last three films go straight-to-video (Personal Effects and Spread), and the other was a small part in the much hated Valentine's Day. Prior to that, he had teamed up with a hot actress in Cameron Diaz for What Happened in Vegas, another much hated film that at least did $80 million at the domestic box office. Katherine Heigl may have had more success on the big screen of late, but has become known for being something of a, well, an ungrateful bitch (trust me, Google it). She has been known to dump on projects that have made her successful, like Knocked Up, which spawned her movie career, and Grey's Anatomy, which spawned her overall career. I would have to be beaten to see anything she's in. Finally, we have the film itself. Despite not being screened for critics, RottenTomatoes has already gathered 37 reviews for this one, of which only two are positive. If you are still playing at home, that's a rotten rating of 5%, and this one is just getting started. Killers is a rip off of True Lies and To Catch a Thief, and you are much better off renting either of those.
Fourth spot goes to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and one might think the ranking for the Jake Gyllenhaal video game adaption is good news for its box office prospects, but that's just not true. The $200 million Prince of Persia earned $13.9 million in its second weekend, and drops a troubling 54% compared to its Memorial Day opening. The Disney flick will not be likely to earn $100 million stateside, but will make a small mint overseas. Both Prince of Persia and Robin Hood would not be profitable films whatsoever without huge earnings coming from overseas markets. All of a sudden, the proportion of earnings for these films is going to be 30% from North America and 70% from overseas, where only a few years ago the opposite would have been true. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time now has a domestic total of only $59.5 million.