Box Office Barometer 6-20-11: Green Lantern is the Face of Death


There were a lot of things at stake this weekend, and unfortunately for Green Lantern, it was responsible for all of them. Let’s take a look at the things it killed.

RYAN REYNOLDS’ CAREER

Ryan Reynolds is a hard-working actor, as evidenced by his start on Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place, past Van Wilder, and into high-grossing fare with Oscar-winning (ahem) actress Sandra Bullock.  He turned himself into a hot commodity, attaching himself to everything, becoming as omnipotent as James Franco.  He had last year’s Buried for some seriously indie cred; he was Deadpool and is looking to fit that spin-off into his busy schedule; he is looking to anchor R.I.P.D., among numerous other projects.  But now that Green Lantern has underperformed, perhaps his next roles will be compromised, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull/Mission Impossible 4-style.

SUPERHERO GENRE

In 2002, Spider-Man showed us what a superhero movie was capable of both financially and culturally, ushering us into a decade of seemingly infinite adaptations.  Now that we got all of the popular characters out of the way (Batman, Superman, X-Men), studios turned to lesser-known characters, hoping that they could be plugged into the machine as easily as Iron Man was.  As the middling return shows, people are not blindly showing up to superhero movies marketed as tentpole films.  Thor made $65.7 million opening weekend, X-Men: First Class made $55.1 million, and even WB’s Batman Begins made $48.7 million.  So as a newcomer to the scene, Green Lantern actually performed on par, but when Warner Bros. spends $300 million on a movie, “on par” looks pretty bad.  Is Green Lantern the end of huge budget movies, or will there be one more that will hold the ignominous title of “killing the genre?”

DC COMICS

Wonder Woman was just canned, and now Green Lantern isn’t what they thought it would be.  After Batman and Superman, where else are they going to turn to?  Aquaman?  Hawkman?  Steel, but with Dwight Howard in the lead role?  They have a “gritty” The Flash coming out, but let’s hope they don’t position that to fail.  Warner Bros. must know that audiences are more curious about superheroes that are more grounded in reality, which is why they chose Green Lantern as their next franchise.  More specifically, people are more interested in characters that are normal people who take on responsibility (Spider-Man and Batman), rather than characters who learn their supernatural abilities and use them for good (Superman and Aquaman) (even Thor lost his powers for 2/3 the movie).  So while DC may have a wealth of adaptable material, they don’t have the luxury of picking names out of a hat.

GREEN LANTERN FRANCHISE

Well, they chose Ryan Reynolds over Bradley Cooper.  They chose to pay $300 million on it.  They chose it to be their next big thing.  They were so pleased with what they had during production, they greenlit the sequel.  Now they must decide if they will keep this franchise going, reboot it, or scrap it altogether.

It took X-Men 5 years to be rebooted.  It took Spider-Man 4 years, and it might only take 3 for Wolverine.  At this point, Warner Bros. has to revaluate their property and determine if they want to go big on the sequel (unlikely), scale back costs so they can make a profit (possibly), or reboot it altogether (it currently has a 15% Top Critics rating on RottenTomatoes).  While they spent Spider-Man money, they got an Incredible Hulk return, so why not just make a Wolverine-esque sequel and pretend the first one never happened?  We’ll take the bogey!

3D

Well, it’s unofficially official, movie industry. You done killed 3D.  Earlier last week, 2D presale tickets for Green Lantern and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 were outselling their 3D counterparts.  As previously mentioned, Kung-Fu Panda 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides did not get the 3D bump they were expecting, and clearly Green Lantern wasn’t saved by higher prices.  Just as soon as Avatar started the fad, Clash of the Titans immediately ruined it.  Audiences are more interested in entertainment, and post-converted movies aren’t worth the extra money (although people are vouching for Green Lantern!).  Obviously, James Cameron will keep producing in 3D, but hopefully studios only produce movies that deserve that extra dimension.

Box Office Results [from Deadline]

1. Green Lantern 3D (Warner Bros) NEW [3,816 Runs]
Friday $21.6M, Saturday $16.8M, Weekend $52.6M

2. Super 8 (Paramount Week 2 [3,408 Runs]
Friday $6M, Saturday $8M, Weekend $21.2M (-40%), Cume $72.7M

3. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Fox) NEW [3,338 Runs]
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $18.2M

4. X-Men: First Class (Fox) Week 3 [3,375 Runs]
Friday $3.3M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $11.5M, Cume $119.9M

5. The Hangover Part II (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,460 Runs]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3M, Weekend $9.6M, Cume $232.6M

6. Kung Fu Panda 2 (Paramount) Week 4 [3,469 Runs]
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $8.7M, Cume $143.3M

7. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 5 [2,573 Runs]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $2.9M, Weekend $7.4M, Estimated Cume $136.8M

8. Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 (Disney) Week 5 [2,742 Runs]
Friday $1.7M, Saaturday $2.4M, Weekend $6.2M, Cume $220.3M

9. Midnight In Paris (Sony Classics) Week 5 [1,083 Runs]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.1M, Weekend $5.2M, Cume $21.7M

10. Judy Moody (Relativity) Week 2 [2,524 Runs]
Friday $785K, Saturday $825K, Weekend $2.2M (-63%), Cume $11.1M

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