Box Office Briefs: MLK Weekend

Box Office Briefs: MLK Weekend

Jan 18, 2011

“It’s not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be!”

That pleasantly surprised tweet came from my co-worker Jeff last week as he perused a Sony press screening for The Green Hornet

For the last several months, Jeff and I had been hearing a steady stream of pre-release bad buzz for the Seth Rogen action-comedy, most of it centering on the following premise: “How can they make a pudgy comic actor a super hero?”

Well, they just did.Green Hornet grossed an estimated $40 million over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday, meeting pre-release projections for a $130 million PG-13 rated movie – expectations that started to perk up in the last several weeks once Sony started screening the film.

It was the second biggest MLK weekend premiere ever, following the $40.1 million debut in 2008 for Paramount’s low-budget horror hit Cloverfield.

Universal, meanwhile, debuted the Ron Howard ensemble comedy The Dilemma to $21.1 million this weekend.

Again, that was about what the movie was expected to do … but that’s not great, when you consider the recent box-office success enjoyed by stars Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.

James is coming off three straight $30 million-plus openings, which includes Grown Ups ($40.5 million), Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($31.8 million) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry ($34.2 million).

For Vaughn, it was two straight, with last year’s Couples Retreat starting out to $34.3 million and 2008’s Four Christmases debuting to $31.1 million.

As adult-targeted comedies go, The Dilemma isn’t expensive – well, not How Do You Know $120 million expensive anyway – but it’s not cheap, either, registering a production price tag of $70 million.

Here’s how the movies did this weekend compared to our Thursday predictions:

The Crystal Ball

The Green Hornet Made: $40.0M We predicted: $40.0M
The Dilemma Made: $21.1M We predicted: $22.0M
True Grit Made: $13.1M We predicted: $12.0M
The King’s Speech Made: $11.2M We predicted: $8.5M
Black Swan Made: $10.4M We predicted: $10.0M
Little Fockers Made: $8.4M We predicted: $9.0M
Yogi Bear Made: $7.5M We predicted: $5.0M
Tron: Legacy Made: $6.8M We predicted: $6.5M
The Fighter Made: $6.2M We predicted: $5.5 M
Tangled Made: $5.5M We predicted: N/A

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