Weekend Wrap-Up for June 11-13, 2010
Karate Kid Kicks the Competition
By John Hamann
June 13, 2010
For Sony, The Karate Kid is surprisingly their first foray into the summer box office onslaught in 2010. Last weekend, the studio's highest ranking film was The Bounty Hunter, which finished 24th with a $200,000 gross, as it opened back in mid-March. Sony has had a quiet year so far, with only three films released prior to The Karate Kid, all of which were financially successful. The $26 million Legion opened in January to $17.5 million, finishing with a $40 million domestic gross and $65 million worldwide. March's The Bounty Hunter was next, which has earned over $130 million around the globe so far. Finally, the studio released Death at a Funeral with Chris Rock, and that one served up $42 million domestically against a $21 million production budget. Next up for Sony is the Adam Sandler flick Grown Ups, set for release in late June, before taking the month of July off. The Karate Kid continues a winning streak for the studio, one that doesn't appear to be ending until the summer is out.
While The Karate Kid blew away expectations, The A-Team went the other way, under-performing badly against expectations, and really, all involved should have seen the writing on the wall. First the details: The A-Team earned $26 million from 3,535 venues, which gives it a so-so venue average of $7,357. The A-Team cost Fox and partners $100 million to make; however, that number may be reduced to $95 million due to tax credits. Tracking had the opening weekend coming in around $35 million, so the opening comes in almost $10 million short of expectations. This means Fox likely leaves about $30 million on the table with The A-Team throughout its run.
The A-Team was never going to be huge, no matter if you had a decent cast (which they did), and moved away from the ridiculous plots that the TV show served up. As a TV show, The A-Team lives as a "good" program only in our memories. The NBC product ran for only five years, and of that, was only a top ten show for three of them (which is why we didn't see a lot of syndication). Week in and week out, the show was silly at best, with tons of violence and no death (despite this being a group of mercenaries). Reviews didn't help the movie much, as only 62 of 117 were fresh, leaving the A-Team with a blah rating of 53% (mainstream critics liked it even less, at 48% fresh). This movie opened with a thud, with no want-to-see factor whatsoever. I also didn't think it helped that Liam Neeson as Hannibal Smith was an odd choice, as you can always hear that Irish accent, and Neeson came off looking like George Peppard – as a wax figurine.
Prior remakes of TV shows also didn't predict an opening beyond $40 million. Other recent TV opening weekends stack up like this: Get Smart at $38.7 million, SWAT at $37.1 million, Charlie's Angels at $40.1 million, and Mission: Impossible – with Tom Cruise – at $45.4 million. Not including sequels of TV films like Mission: Impossible 2, or re-imagined franchises like Star Trek, the biggest TV opening The Simpson Movie's $74 million, followed by $57 million for Sex and the City. Simply put, The A-Team was never going to be a $200 million earner like The Karate Kid now has a chance of being.