Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Shrek Still King Over Sluggish Frame

No sugar and spice for Splice.

by | June 7, 2010 | Comments

The summer box office slump spilled into a new month as the North American
box office delivered the worst June frame in five years. Four new releases
targeting different audiences were sprinkled throughout the top ten but none
managed to unseat reigning chart king
Shrek Forever After

which held the number one spot for the third straight time. Ticket sales were
once again down sharply compared to last year as the films Hollywood has
programmed are still not generating the usual summer excitement.

Shrek Forever
After
became the first of the four ogre toons to top the box office for
three consecutive weekends as the 3D pic grossed an estimated $25.3M falling by
a relatively light 42% from the Friday-to-Sunday portion of last weekend’s
Memorial Day holiday session. It was the smallest drop suffered by any wide
release. Paramount and DreamWorks Animation have taken in $183M after 17 days
which still trails the performances of the previous Mike Myers sequels. Shrek 2,
the top-grosser of the franchise, had collected $314.5M by this point while
Shrek the Third stood at $255.9M. Those films had lower ticket prices and no 3D
surcharges. Forever After is on track to finish its run in the vicinity of
$250M.[rtimage]MapID=1194517&MapTypeID=2&photo=41&legacy=1[/rtimage]Universal
enjoyed a solid opening for its raunchy comedy
Get Him
to the Greek
which laughed up an estimated $17.4M leading a quartet of
new releases. The R-rated film about a record company assistant assigned to
escort an unstable rock star from London to Los Angeles averaged a good $6,460
from 2,697 theaters. Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, and Sean Combs starred and Judd
Apatow produced. The debut was almost identical to the $17.7M second place bow
and $6,335 average of 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall which inspired the Aldous
Snow character played by Brand in Greek. Both films were directed by Nicholas
Stoller. Budgeted at $40M, Greek skewed a bit towards adult men as studio
research showed that 53% of the audience was male while 55% was under
30.[rtimage]MapID=1212410&MapTypeID=2&photo=51&legacy=1[/rtimage]Ashton Kutcher
and Katherine Heigl followed close behind in third place with their new
action-comedy Killers
which launched with an estimated $16.1M from 2,859 sites for a respectable
$5,631 average. The PG-13 film about a woman who discovers after getting married
that her husband is a secret assassin opened a few notches below the $20.2M
debut of Kutcher’s last summer offering What Happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz
from May 2008. Killers was not screened for the press before its release, but
critics reviewing it on opening day panned the film.[rtimage]MapID=10011824&MapTypeID=2&photo=18&legacy=1[/rtimage]Disney
saw a steep 54% drop for its expensive adventure film
Prince
of Persia: The Sands of Time
which grossed an estimated $13.9M following
its disappointing holiday opening. With only $59.5M collected after ten days,
the Jerry Bruckheimer production looks to end its run near the $90M mark.
Overseas and home video revenue need to be stellar in order to recoup the
estimated $150-200M in production costs plus the additional cash spent on
worldwide marketing.

Suffering the worst decline of any film in the top ten was
Sex and the City 2

which tumbled 59% in its second weekend to an estimated $12.7M. Warner Bros. has
banked only $73.4M in 11 days trailing 28% behind the $101.8M that the first
Sex
rang up in the same number of days. The gals should end up near the
$100M mark at the end of the domestic run.

Fox learned this weekend that
Marmaduke
is no
Marley & Me
. The new comic strip pic bowed to an estimated $11.3M from 3,213
theaters for a lackluster $3,517 average and did not come close to the $36.4M
debut of the studio’s other Owen Wilson-led dog flick. Marmaduke was
based on a property with only limited popularity and it lacked the dazzle of 3D
that kids are now used to from other family films. With
The Karate Kid

opening Friday and Toy
Story 3
in 3D debuting a week later, the road ahead looks difficult for
the Great Dane.[rtimage]MapID=1226669&MapTypeID=2&photo=10&legacy=1[/rtimage]Paramount
and Marvel took in an estimated $7.8M with
Iron Man 2
, off
53%, raising the total to $291.3M. The super hero sequel rose to number 39 on
the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just behind the $291.7M of 2005’s
The Chronicles of Narnia
. Next week should see the Robert Downey Jr. hit
join its predecessor in the $300M club.

Opening poorly in eighth was
Splice
, a new
sci-fi horror entry released by Warner Bros., with an estimated $7.5M. The
R-rated thriller averaged just $3,041 from 2,450 locations and became the latest
fright flick to fail to connect with paying audiences during the early summer
period which has never been kind to the genre. Reviews were quite good for a
horror pic, though.[rtimage]MapID=1208173&MapTypeID=2&photo=28&legacy=1[/rtimage]Robin
Hood
fell 51% to ninth place with an estimated $5.1M boosting
Universal’s cume to $94.3M. Rounding out the top ten was Summit’s hit romance
Letters to Juliet

which declined by 49% to an estimated $3M for a total of $43.3M to date.
Debuting in limited release at number 11 was UTV’s new Indian political drama
Raajneeti with an estimated $917,000 from 124 locations for a solid $7,395
average.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $119.9M which was down 24% from last year
when The Hangover opened in the top spot with $45M; and down 29% from
2008 when Kung Fu Panda debuted at number one with $60.2M.

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