Box Office Guru Wrapup: The Green Hornet Buzzes To The Top

The Dilemma and True Grit Round out the top three.

This weekend audiences looking for super hero fun powered The Green Hornet to number one over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday frame but the overall marketplace remained sluggish with ticket sales dropping by double digits when compared to each of the last three years. The comedy The Dilemma anchored by a different dynamic duo -- Vince Vaughn and Kevin James -- debuted in second place with not-so-impressive numbers. Awards contenders rounded out the top five with each posting solid results.

Driving into the number one spot with an estimated $40M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend was The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogen as the crime-fighting anti-hero with a supercharged sense of humor. The 3D action flick opened very wide in 3,584 theaters and averaged a commendable $11,161 per site over four days with 3D surcharges helping along the way. If estimates hold for the PG-13 pic, that would be the second best MLK debut ever trailing the $46.1M four-day tally of Cloverfield from 2008. Should the estimate prove to be too aggressive, it may fall to third behind the studio's own Paul Blart: Mall Cop which bowed to $39.2M two years ago.

Regardless of where it ends up ranking, Hornet successfully connected with its target audience of young males. According to studio research, 61% of the crowd was male. Appeal was broad across different age groups with 50% being under 25. Reviews were mixed and the CinemaScore grades were a good B+ overall and an encouraging A- for under 25 patrons.

Hornet's opening was still below the numbers posted by other expensive super hero films released in the early part of the year. 2007's Ghost Rider bowed to $52M over four days while 2003's Daredevil debuted to $45M across four days as well. Both were February titles launched over Presidents Day weekend and had lower ticket prices and no 3D surcharges. However, they also came from the pages of Marvel comic books and had larger built-in audiences. Studios often use the first quarter of the year to launch super hero films that are not strong enough to compete with the big boys of summer.

A whopping 69% of the weekend gross came from 3D screens which were offered in 2,704 playdates including 174 IMAX 3D sites. Outside of TRON: Legacy, there have been no major action movies for teens and young adults to be excited about over the past month so Hornet took advantage of an audience that was underserved. Super hero films usually burn out fast at the box office so Sony is trying to take in as much cash as it can upfront for the pricey movie which carries a production cost of at least $100M. With French director Michel Gondry at the helm and Asian star Jay Chou in the sidekick role, Hornet hopes to earn significant amounts around the world where action movies sell very well.

Vince Vaughn and Kevin James saw a mediocre start to their new comedy The Dilemma which debuted in second with an estimated four-day take of $20.7M from 2,940 theaters for a moderate $7,041 average. The PG-13 film about a man who learns of his best friend's wife's infidelity also starred Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly, Channing Tatum, and Queen Latifah and was directed by Ron Howard who has been away from the comedy genre for over a decade. Over the Friday-to-Sunday period, Universal's gross was estimated to be $17.4M. The debut was well below the opening weekend figures of Vaughn's recent efforts like Four Christmases ($31.1M), Couples Retreat ($34.3M), and The Break-Up ($39.2M). It also did not come close to the $32.5M four-day gross of 2004's Along Came Polly starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston which was another relationship comedy launching over MLK weekend.

Budgeted at a hefty $70M with big paychecks for all the actors, The Dilemma played as expected to an adult crowd that skewed more towards women. Studio research showed that 60% of the audience was female and 58% was 30 and older. Reviews were bad and moviegoers felt mostly the same way as the CinemaScore grade was a disappointing B. Trailers and TV spots were unfunny leading many fans of the stars to skip this one. Vaughn has been able to sell tickets despite being slammed by critics before, but the magic didn't work this time. Plus an abundance of critically-acclaimed awards contenders playing to adults provided plenty of stronger alternatives.

The hit Western True Grit dropped from the top spot but still held up well slipping to an estimated $13.1M over four days boosting the total to $128.3M. Paramount's acclaimed drama has now entered the Top 20 list of 2010's highest-grossing releases and should have much more to collect in the weeks ahead.

Colin Firth's The King's Speech finally expanded into wide national play with its expansion this weekend from 700 to 1,543 locations which resulted in an estimated $11.2M over the extended Friday-to-Monday span. Ranking fourth for the frame, the Weinstein Co. release averaged a solid $7,247 in its eighth frame and has banked $46.7M to date. The distributor patiently waited out the holidays and chose Golden Globes weekend to expand fully in hopes of capitalizing on awards buzz. Plus it will be a newer film in many markets when Oscar nominations are announced next week. Another expanding awards contender followed as Black Swan grossed an estimated $10.4M over four days with its $8.4M three-day score inching ahead of its Friday-to-Sunday gross from last weekend. Fox Searchlight widened the ballet thriller from 1,584 to 2,328 sites and has taken in an impressive $75.2M so far.

Universal's comedy threequel Little Fockers took in an estimated $8.4M in its fourth round for a $135.5M cume. Holding up well over the school holiday was Yogi Bear which grabbed an estimated $7.4M raising the sum for Warner Bros. to $84.2M. The kidpic has now grossed over five times its opening weekend take and may finish just below the $100M mark. The sci-fi reboot TRON: Legacy followed with an estimated $6.8M boosting the tally to $158.1M.

Dropping slightly was the acclaimed boxing drama The Fighter with an estimated $6.2M giving Paramount $66.8M thus far. Disney's Tangled charmed up an estimated $5.5M and has taken in $182.5M to date. Nicolas Cage's latest action offering Season of the Witch tumbled in its second weekend grossing an estimated $5.3M for a 11-day tally of just $18.8M. Luckily for Relativity, the production cost was just $40M. A final domestic gross of about $25M seems likely.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $129.6M over four days which was down a sharp 29% from last year when Avatar stayed in the top spot with $54.4M; and down 30% from 2009 when Paul Blart: Mall Cop opened at number one with $39.2M.

Comments

Dave J

Dave J

True Grit was a good investment!

Jan 17 - 04:22 PM

Dave J

Dave J

The most successful The Coen bros had ever done in terms of boxoffice!

Jan 17 - 04:23 PM

JS

j s

Hell ya it was.

Jan 18 - 10:35 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

I just saw it and it was one of there best movies in my opinion.

Jan 18 - 03:16 PM

Dave J

Dave J

The most successful The Coen bros had ever done in terms of boxoffice!

Jan 17 - 04:23 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

I haven't seen Green hornet yet but from what I hear it's alot better them most critics say it is so I'm happy It's in the top spot. I also haven's seen True grit, black swan, and King's speech yet but hopefully I'll be able to catch them soon since there's nothing interesting coming out until March.

Jan 17 - 04:26 PM

Dean W.

Dean Wirth

seeing the green hornet this weekend in 2d, the 3d I hear is not so good, but the movie is

Jan 18 - 05:58 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

I saw the movie in 2-d. It just wasn't good. There was some funny and cool parts, but Seth Rogan is just not funny in this one. Definitely one of his weaker movies.

Jan 18 - 11:37 AM

Sean Y.

Sean Y.

Great to see True Grit is holding up so well. SOTW's major fall is no surprise, what with bad word-of-mouth. Green Hornet will probably drop a decent amount next weekend, reviews are on a slightly more negative trend and the audience reaction seems kind of lukewarm to me. Black Swan is holding on amazingly well, I don't expect it to fall out of the top 10 any time soon. King's Speech should continue to do well with a wide release.

Jan 17 - 04:31 PM

Mad Dog McGee

Emmett Grady

I am happy that the Green Hornet didn't flop, despite some of the unjustified critical hammering on the film(yet 75% of you liked Indy 4?). I agree with the critics and the tomatometer always, but not this time. Green Hornet may not be memorable but is alot of fun. Great news for True Grit and Black Swan. Those films are awesome and truly deserve all of their hype. Black Swan was only bested by Social Network last year.

Jan 17 - 05:00 PM

JS

j s

well said.

Jan 18 - 10:36 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

You talk about those films deserving their hype (and they do) but you failed to mention Hornet was over hyped and you overlooked Hornet's flaws (in which it has many)

Jan 18 - 11:43 AM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Pretty good numbers for The Green Hornet. I hope it breaks Cloverfield's January debut record by the end of the 4-day weekend.

Box Office Top 5 Predictions for next weekend:
1. The Green Hornet ($20 mil or more)
2. No Strings Attatched ($20 mil)
3. The King's Speech ($15 mil or less)
4. Black Swan ($15 mil or less)
5. True Grit ($9-8 mil or less)

Jan 17 - 05:13 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

agree with the order, but think you give too much credit to The Kings Speech and No Strings Attached. The Kings Speech is a great movie, but not sure about its commercial appeal and think audiences are finally starting to get the message about Ashton Kutcher i.e. he's not going to get any better. Look at his profile on the home page. The best movie he's ever done got a 47%.

Jan 18 - 09:25 AM

Isaac

Isaac H

I saw The Green Hornet on Sunday, and it was great fun. It wasn't as deep as some other superhero films, but it was willing to go farther than most others in terms of realistic violence. I hope it holds up well in weeks to come. I have heard almost nothing of The Dilemma, but I've never been a big fan of Vaughn, so I'm a bit indifferent on that front. This is looking to be the last interesting weekend in January, as the only other wide release this month is The Mechanic. In fact, there's really nothing until March's the Adjustment Bureau. Let's hope these two months go fast.

Jan 17 - 05:24 PM

Cory

Cory B

Most of the critics I follow closely said Green Hornet was fun at times, but largely forgettable. Sounds like an intriguing missed opportunity to me. Not sure if I'll see it. I'll be checking out Black Swan tommorrow.

Jan 17 - 05:52 PM

Corey B.

Corey Beliles

Green Hornet was pretty freakin fun. It's one of those movies, like the A-Team, that are just really fun to watch and everybody has a lot of fun watching it and just enjoys the experience. It was like a hybrid of the typical superhero film with a Pineapple Express vibe, humor and attitude, which was what I was expecting so it worked out. I hope it continues to do really good business in the coming weeks.

Jan 17 - 06:20 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

Action's great and all, but having a bullshit story really takes the fun out of a cinematic experience....for ex: i was enjoying "A-Team" just fine until i realized that Hannibal & co. spent an entire movie trying to clear their names, only to have the CIA go "yeah, we know you're innocent, but you're going to jail anyways"....The only person who cared that they were innocent was Jessica biel, and all she did was help them become escaped convicts...something they already were before they set out trying to prove their innocence....WTF? SO for all their explosions, they accomplished absolutely nothing? I swear, the TV show was more entertaining than the movie.

Jan 17 - 06:53 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

I'll wait for Green Hornet to hit the 'net in 720p, then if I like it, I'll buy it. Though I doubt I'll like it, considering how much I dislike Rogan.
Glad to see Grit doing so well, the Coens made a very good movie.
Laughing at Witch, Cage needs a new agent pronto.

Jan 17 - 06:28 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

For all its faults and there were many, I thought the performances in Season of the Witch were actually pretty good. Particularly the witch-girl. Sadly though, her, Cage, Perlman and the rest deserved a better movie to be in. The movie failed on script dialog and not enough effort put into the story. Direction wasn't half bad and acting was actually really good.

Jan 18 - 09:32 AM

James McDermid

James McDermid

Well, considering Cage's financial problems, I think he's at a stage where he's just relieved to be working. I think the Raising Arizona, Wild At Heart and Leaving Las Vegas days, are behind him.

Jan 20 - 07:49 AM

Spencer S.

Spencer Saunders

Green Hornet and Tron: Legacy deserves it. Yogi Bear and Season of the Witch can rot.

Jan 17 - 06:37 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

Action's great and all, but having a bullshit story really takes the fun out of a cinematic experience....for ex: i was enjoying "A-Team" just fine until i realized that Hannibal & co. spent an entire movie trying to clear their names, only to have the CIA go "yeah, we know you're innocent, but you're going to jail anyways"....The only person who cared that they were innocent was Jessica biel, and all she did was help them become escaped convicts...something they already were before they set out trying to prove their innocence....WTF? SO for all their explosions, they accomplished absolutely nothing? I swear, the TV show was more entertaining than the movie.

Jan 17 - 06:53 PM

Splitter

Matthew Burge

1 and 2 are whatever, but seeing True Grit, The King's Speech, and Black Swan 3-5 is more than praiseworthy.

Jan 17 - 07:12 PM

zain h. -  movies guy

zain hashmat

Isn't it wierd that all the oscar-worthy movies come after the month of May? Hey guys, check out my list of favorite movies on my profile. You won't be dissapointed.

Jan 17 - 07:29 PM

zain h. -  movies guy

zain hashmat

Isn't it wierd that all the oscar-worthy movies come after the month of May? Hey guys, check out my list of favorite movies on my profile. You won't be dissapointed. :)-

Jan 17 - 07:29 PM

Chris L.

Chris Liu

Not weird at all. Cannes is in May, and besides, there's a lot of old people voting in the Academy, and they have memory problems.

Jan 17 - 10:34 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

I saw True Grit this last week. Though I wasn't very impressed with it. It was well made and the acting was good, especially Hailee Steinfeld.

Jan 17 - 08:07 PM

doomzdavo

Doomz Davo

I don't go by critic consensus at all. Too inconsistent. I watch and judge movies for myself. I'll watch Green Hornet eventually. Just like I'll watch any other movie that came out this year that looked entertaining but failed to score with critics.

Jan 17 - 10:34 PM

woundedmakers

Steven Bada

Well said doom. I read reviews purely for entertainment. Ill be damned if I'm going to judge a movie based on the ripeness of a cartoon tomato.

Jan 17 - 11:44 PM

Lando Griffin

ben keesing

And well said woundedmakers.

Jan 18 - 12:56 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

I only use the critic's consensus when i am on the fence about seeing a movie or not. Sometimes when a movie i had no interest in seeing is heavily praised, i check it out (the social network. But if i want to see a movie, critics rarely stop me.

Jan 18 - 11:47 AM

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