Hornet Brings The Green for Rogen and Sony
By John Hamann
January 16, 2011
Originally designed to be a summer release in June 2010, and then July 2010, Sony moved The Green Hornet to Christmas 2010 so that the film could be converted to 3D. It was a bad sign for the film when the studio changed the release date to January 14th, as Sony only had the uber-flop How Do You Know opening over Christmas, and The Tourist was already three weekends old. Reviews perpetrated the rumor that The Green Hornet wasn't a great film. Of the 151 reviews loaded at RottenTomatoes, only 67 were positive, leaving the film with a 44% rotten rating. Even worse, "top critics" at the site liked it even less, with only seven positive reviews out of a possible 32, for a 22% fresh rating. With these reviews, we can expect The Green Hornet to drop off quickly in the weekends to come, with $100 million at the domestic box office pretty much out of the question.
For Seth Rogen, The Green Hornet's opening weekend is the best of his career. The opening weekend for the superhero flick does improve on some of his more recent outings, like Funny People ($22.7 million opening), Observe and Report ($11 million opening) and Zack and Miri Make a Porno ($10 million opening). It's also ahead of his Judd Apatow collaborations like Superbad ($33.1 million opening) and Knocked Up ($30.7 million opening). Next up for Rogen is voice work on the comedy Paul, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead). Rogen voices the title character, an alien who crashes outside of Area 51.
Finishing second at the box office this weekend is Ron Howard's The Dilemma, the poorly received comedy from Universal. The Vince Vaughn/Kevin James comedy could not live up to the dominance of Paul Blart, but still did okay considering the bad word-of-mouth surrounding the film prior to its opening. The Dilemma took in $17.4 million from 2,941 venues and had a venue average of $5,925. Ron Howard hadn't directed a comedy since the poorly received EDtv back in 1999, and it showed, as critics massacred the project. Of the 84 reviews counted at RottenTomatoes, only 20 were fresh, leaving the comedy with a fresh rating of only 24%. The opening came in at about what tracking was expecting, but still has to be a disappointment for the studio. Vince Vaughn's last three broad comedies all opened beyond $30 million, as did Kevin James' last four films. Universal still looks to have a promising year with movies like Paul, The Adjustment Bureau and Cowboys and Aliens looming on the schedule.
Third this weekend is True Grit, last weekend's top film. The Coen Brothers' western with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon had another strong weekend, earning $11.2 million, off only 23% compared to last weekend. Grit won't be seeing a Golden Globe bounce, as a nomination wasn't given (or purchased) to the film with the 93% fresh rating, but Oscar nominations come out January 25th, and it should be still earning about $7 million next weekend. So far, the small, $40 million Paramount release has earned a remarkable $127.4 million, and has yet to open overseas.