SHREK OOZES GREEN
Ho, ho, ho…green giant! As predicted, DreamWorks Animation’s big green ogre conquered multiplexes as “Shrek Forever After” grossed $71.5 million over the weekend--body-slamming the competition. The film, released by Paramount, is the fourth in the series that stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz.
The other wide opener, Universal’s SNL-inspired “MacGruber” was D.O.A.--Dud on Arrival--rigging together just $4 million in its underwhelming debut. Fittingly enough, Will Forte’s lampooning of action films and 80’s machismo escape artist, “MacGyver,” is now the front-runner for bomb-of-the-summer.
It’s a funny thing that happened to Shrek on the way to the center of the box office forum: even though this fourth, and supposedly final chapter, is filmdom’s most profitable animated franchise ($2.2 billion worldwide and counting) and is the fourth (surprise, surprise) highest debut for an animated film, many in the industry will consider this a big, fat disappointment. How does that work, great box office swami? Well, no doubt Shrek’s castle is crumbling popularity-wise--”ogre the hill“ as it were--being that “Shrek 2” and “Shrek the Third” opened with far, far and away greater numbers: $108 million and $121 million respectively. On top of that, this edition was supposed to be bolstered by 3-D revenue as this was the first of the series to be in presented in the third dimension, which should have rendered more green than the Coachella of Farmer’s Markets.
But wait box office prognosticators, temper those torches and sheath those sticks for a moment…or at least another weekend. Didn’t “How to Train Your Dragon” also vastly under perform in its debut? Wasn’t a death knell sounded when that film rolled credits in its initial weekend, too? And the only thing that film did was fire up superb numbers weekend after weekend, and has now has grossed $210 million and warranted a sequel. So, before we jump to conclusions, let’s remember that Shrek is the only animated franchise that opens films like a spandex-clad superhero, but at heart is a family film---which we know have legs like the Energizer Bunny…they just keep going and going and going.
Although the Shrek franchise may have wrapped up its story, its legacy will live on forever after, as not a single Pixar film has ever opened with more than $70 million--and Shrek has now done it three out of four tries. Stick that in your swamp pipe and smoke it, Uncle Walt! While it may be unfair to compare siblings, it happens all the time, however this is one sequel that lives up to its namesake. Shrek’s literal translation? Green. Of the cash variety. Expect it to ooze out of the box office pores until “Toy Story 3” opens in mid-June, as Shrek is the only piece of animation to leave the station until then. Oh, and next weekend is Memorial Day…so odds are Shrek’s competition will be a bit green with envy.
Internationally, “Shrek Forever After” opened strong in limited fashion in nine territories, grossing $26 million. In Russia, where it hauled in $20 million, it was the largest opening weekend of any film, ever, topping even “Avatar” and “Ice Age 3.”
Shrek also had his way with the other 3-D films in the marketplace; he slayed “How to Train Your Dragon,” as it dropped 869 theatres and 63%, while “Clash of the Titans” fell 77%, losing 888 theatres. Cumes are $210 million and $161 respectively.
Paramount had a one-two punch like no other this weekend, as “Iron Man 2” was runner-up in its third weekend, blasting up another $26.4 million. Declining just 49% the super-powered sequel has now amassed $251 million domestically, and over $500 million worldwide.
“Robin Hood” finished third in its sophomore outing, on target for $18 million and now $65 million total. Easing just 49%, the Universal release will be a solid hit, especially overseas, where it grossed another $30 million this weekend, and has nearly doubled-up the North American cume, amassing $125 million.
In fourth place, “Letters to Juliet” dropped just 35% on its way to $9 million. As the only summer romance out there, Summit has cornered the market and rolled up $27 million thus far. Expect the Amanda Seyfried film to play well for a few more weeks.
Fox Searchlight’s romantic basketball comedy, “Just Wright,” rounded out the Top 5 in its second weekend grossing $4.2 million and $14.6 overall.
Turns out “MacGruber” wasn’t diffusing a bomb, he WAS the bomb, crash-landing in sixth place. Okay, so SNL films has a long lineage of box office guffaws: “The Ladies Man,“ “Stuart Saves His Family,“ “It’s Pat!“ to name a few. Still, this one cost just $10 million, so the shrapnel won’t go too deep for Universal and Relativity Media--however Will Forte may never headline a movie again. Unless, of course, he teams up with Tim Meadows, Julia Sweeney, and Al Franken in “Bomb Squad.” Hey, how cool would that be? The SNL stars of your least favorite SNL movies…together in one action-packed, hilarious cop-comedy. Seriously, Lorne Michaels, how can you say no to that? Think of all the out-of-work SNLers you could recruit! Say, have they cast the new “Police Academy” yet?
A surprise entry into the Top 10, “Kites” grossed nearly $1 million in just 207 locations. The Bollywood film from Reliance Big Pictures, has been described as a mash-up of every conceivable genre, albiet one that has pulpy appeal.
Memorial Day weekend is always one of the strongest of the summer, and this year , like last year’s battle between “Night at the Museum 2” and “Terminator 4,” will see two worthy competitors chasing the all-mighty dollar. The gal pals of “Sex and the City 2” will take on plucky newcomer Jake Gyllenhaal, The Prince of Persia. “Sex” opens on Thursday, as Warner Bros. will do a little pre-weekend partying, so expect the more family-oriented film to take the top spot over the weekend by default. It’s gonna be a close one though, as the original “Sex and the City” shocked the world, opening with $57 million and strutted away with $415 million worldwide. The R-rated sequel may sashay up $41 million over the traditional weekend, while Walt Disney’s adventure tale will likely sweep up $53 million over the 3-day session.
(May 23, 2010) - Comments (17)