Zack Snyder Sucker Punched by a Wimpy Kid
By John Hamann
March 27, 2011
2011 continues its path as one of the strangest early movie-going years ever this weekend, as a live action kids film called Diary of Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (aimed at boys who are about 12) beat out Sucker Punch (which is aimed at boys with a mental age of 12). Yes, a big name director - Zack Snyder of 300, Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen – with a big, effects-laden event film in Sucker Punch, got schooled by Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, a film that looks like it should be premiering on Nickelodeon. The 2011 box office continues to sputter, as we continue to wait for a film to open to more than $40 million.
The number one film of the weekend is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, the 20th Century Fox sequel to the so-so hit from last year. Wimpy Kid 2 opened to $24.4 million from 3,167 venues. It had an average of $7,704. Wimpy Kid's Friday gross of $7.325 million, was almost exactly the same amount the original earned ($7.375 million) 53 weekends earlier. Despite being a sequel, the follow-up did even better the original's multiplier of 3.0. This time around, it had a 3.3. I think that if a poll was completed, the result would show that almost exactly the same audience that came out for the first Wimpy Kid movie showed up for the sequel - plus a few extras.
The fact that this was even made is a bit of a surprise, as the original Wimpy Kid wasn't all that. Sure it opened to $22.1 million against a budget of only $15 million, but there wasn't a lot of good news following that success. The film fell 54% in its second frame, and 48% in its third before leveling off in weekend four. It failed to earn an open-to-total multiplier of 3.0, something that a kids flick usually has no problem pulling off. Reviews for the original were mixed, and at best blah, and was definitely no standout.
It did do quite well on DVD, though. The Wimpy Kid DVD outsold Kick-Ass during its first week of DVD release, with Wimpy Kid outpacing Kick Ass by 250,000 units. It went on to earn over $35 million from DVD sales. So really, it's been a good year for the Wimpy Kid franchise. Had this been a normal box office year, Wimpy Kid likely would have come in second; however, Sucker Punch failed and opened the door for the weekend win.
Financially, Rodrick Rules will be another win for Fox, and like all things Wimpy Kid, winnings will likely match the original. Rodrick Rules cost $21 million to make, about $6 million more than the original, despite being 25 minutes shorter. Fox will likely pull in something similar to the $64 million the original earned, but could earn more overseas this time, as awareness is higher (the original took in only $11 million from international locations). With the similar opening and budget, I think we can expect a Wimpy Kid 3 in about a year.