After a series of films underperformed at the box office throughout the past month, shockingly it was “The Karate Kid” that shattered all expectations by taking in $56 million at the domestic box office this weekend. While global numbers were unavailable at this time, “The Karate Kid” had a $40 million production budget, and is looking at a profit margin that could be far higher than any other film released this summer. Even Sony who released “The Karate Kid” had predicted an opening of about half this scale, and to possibly be neck-and-neck for the top spot with the re-make of “The A-Team”. Ultimately, with kids getting out of school for the summer and families wanting to return to the movies, “The Karate Kid” filled a need in the marketplace that was open as many families had already seen “Shrek Forever After” in the last three weeks.
If “The Karate Kid” signaled a shift at the box office to better summer seasons gone by, “The A-Team”, fit right in to this summer’s series of opening weekends that fall somewhere in between disappointing and tragic. Although it may be more the former than the latter, “The A-Team” opened in second place with $26 million domestically and $41 million worldwide, only a fraction of its $110 million budget. While many have been quick to point fingers at “Hollywood” for rehashing ideas for sequels, video game adaptations, and re-imaginings that people didn’t want to see, it’s hard to place blame on the studio system for lack of original ideas leading to a weak marketplace the same weekend when a series re-boot took the top spot. While everyone underestimated the power of the branding of “The Karate Kid” (and it’s Justin Bieber tie-in which was likely game-changing), the brand recognition/loyalty for “The A-Team” didn’t seem to be in the marketplace in the way Fox may have expected or hoped.
As far as “Shrek Forever After” goes, the song remains the same with that film as it took third place at the box office this weekend making another $15 million, bringing its domestic total to $210 million and its worldwide total to $277. Again, while the numbers on the film remain profitable for Dreamworks (the film reportedly cost $165 million), it continues to fall short of the previous sequels in the franchise. This would continue to prove the “rule” that many filmgoers and bloggers have suggested , that audiences are growing weary of paying for expensive tickets to see franchise films that may have overstayed their welcome, and are growing even more weary of paying even more to see them in 3-D.
“Get Him to the Greek” took fourth place this week, adding another $10 million to its total to bring its domestic total to $36 million. This puts the film ahead of the two week gross of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and guarantees that the film should turn a profit in the coming days.
Though many films have underperformed at the box office this summer, the season has produced very few bona fide flops. Still, one of those flops could end up being “Killers”, which took in another $8 million this weekend to come in at fifth place. With the worldwide total being $31 million and production budget being reported as having been $75 million, its hard to say if the film will turn a profit in its theatrical run, but at this point it seems unlikely.
Three films opened this weekend in limited release, and they just so happen to be the three films with the highest per-screen averages. The top spot in this race went to the Sundance breakout hit “Winter’s Bone” which opened with $85,400, or $21,350 per-screen. With the film’s low-budget, positive reviews, and awards buzz, the film should easily turn a nice profit in the coming weeks and months.
“The Lottery”, the documentary on the education system in America, opened on one screen with $17,200, a success for a documentary with such little publicity.
“Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky” had it’s American debut in three theaters where it make $48,800, or $16,267 per-screen. Though no budget for the film was available, the film has made over $3.5 million worldwide.
As always, we at the Awards Circuit are intrigued to find out what you saw this weekend and what you make of this rollercoaster summer at the box office. Is the multiplex offering to few original ideas for your taste? Are the sequels not entertaining enough? Have you been shunning them for indie fare? Or have ticket prices kept you out of the theaters all together? As always, all of us at the Awards Circuit would love to hear what awards potential you saw (if any) and wish you a wonderful summer at the movies.