You might want to call on ‘The A-Team’ if you have some problem with a rogue dictatorship or need something blown up real good. But if you want to bring in a sturdy box office hit, you may need to look elsewhere. In fact, the team of incredibly macho men got their asses handed to them by a pre-teen boy and his over-the-hill Kung Fu instructor in the newly established ‘Karate Kid.’ Who saw that one coming? Not me.
Details on all the box office hits and misses follow!
Well, we finally have a new #1! After weeks of lording over the box office, the jolly green ogre ‘Shrek Forever After‘ is no longer at the top of the charts. It dropped down to a still-respectable third place. Instead, Jayden “Son-of-Will” Smith and Jackie Chan took over the top spot with their reboot of the inspirational 1984 coming-of-age sports movie ‘The Karate Kid.’ I still haven’t seen the movie, but I’m looking forward to it. Despite its exhausting David Lean-ian running time of two hours and thirty minutes, I’ve heard good things. Apparently, that word-of-mouth spread. The remake, which benefited from a change in geographic locale (this time it’s set in the East) and Asian flavor (Chinese instead of the original’s Japanese hues), racked up a staggering $56 million. The movie would probably be seen as a sleeper hit if it made that in its entire theatrical run. The fact that it ran up that kind of tally on the first weekend is definitely a good sign.
Sadly for Will, Jayden and Jackie, the ‘Karate Kid’ refresh will only have a few days to reap the rewards. On Friday, Disney/Pixar’s summertime juggernaut ‘Toy Story 3’ opens. I’m guessing that will be even bigger than people are predicting, precisely because this summer has been so lousy so far. (And it’s in threeeee-deeeeeee, no less!) Look for much of the audience that made the ‘Karate Kid’ opening weekend such a smash to be siphoned off by Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the toy box gang.
Coming in at #2 is Fox’s big budget remake of “classic” (note raised eyebrows) ’80s television series ‘The A-Team,’ which was more or less a complete disaster. Don’t let Fox or anyone else try to spin it any differently. This thing crashed and burned upon impact. Its opening weekend count was $30 million less than ‘Karate Kid,’ and its budget was north of $100 million. That’s before marketing costs (and they have been running those television ads for weeks). The studio had big plans for the movie. As anyone who has seen it can attest, the film may as well have ended with a title card that said, “INSERT FRANCHISE HERE.” Now, the best the studio can hope for are some cheap, quickie direct-to-video sequels (to be reviewed, lovingly, by High-Def Digest, no doubt). Fox was hoping this would be its ‘Mission: Impossible‘ series but, you know, with attitude. Instead, it’s stalled before takeoff. Three words describe this opening: bad, bad, bad.
The rest of the Top 10 looks a lot like last week, without any major surprises. Although, it is worth noting that ‘Killers,’ the abominable Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl action-comedy that Lionsgate didn’t even screen for critics, out-grossed Disney’s slick videogame adaptation ‘Prince of Persia.’ Disney had similar hopes pinned onto ‘Prince of Persia’ like Fox had with ‘A-Team.’ Neither one is going to get what it wants: a profitable cash cow that will keep giving for years (maybe decades) to come. Look for Disney to place similar anticipations on ‘Tron Legacy,’ out in December. Then again, that might actually deliver.
‘Sex and the City 2‘ limps along, like a torn evening gown. (That’s the best analogy I could come up with, so sue me.) Its total box office take is nearing the magical $100 million mark, so you should expect another film anyway, one hopefully more modestly budgeted and interested in characters instead of costumes.
Also, ‘Splice,’ last week’s near-masterpiece about a couple of flawed genetic engineers who create a sexy mutant monster, remains in the Top 10. (Just barely, at #10 – must be those birdlike talons). Meanwhile, Russell Crowe’s dreary ‘Robin Hood‘ retelling falls out of the Top 10 altogether. ‘Splice’ is a genuine surprise, but one that probably won’t delight most audiences until the eventual DVD/Blu-ray, which will undoubtedly come before Halloween.
The Top 10, Uncut:
01 ‘The Karate Kid’ (Sony) – $56 million
02 ‘The A-Team’ (Fox) – $26 million
03 ‘Shrek Forever After’ (DreamWorks Animation) – $15.8 million
04 ‘Get Him to the Greek’ (Universal) – $10 million
05 ‘Killers’ (Lionsgate) – $8.1 million
06 ‘Prince of Persia: Sands of Time’ (Disney) – $6.5 million
07 ‘Marmaduke’ (Fox) – $6 million
08 ‘Sex and the City 2’ (Warner Bros) – $5.5 million
09 ‘Iron Man 2’ (Marvel Studios/Paramount) – $4.5 million
10 ‘Splice’ (Warner Bros) – $2.8 million