The summer box office won a reprieve this weekend as two 80s remakes went against each other. Warm-hearted family franchise The Karate Kid kicked actioner The A-Team‘s ass, thanks to the potent combo of genuine martial arts master Jackie Chan and Hollywood scion Jaden Smith, reports Anthony D’Alessandro:
Sony’s Jackie Chan re-boot of ‘80s classic The Karate Kid finally kicked summer moviegoers wide awake this weekend, round-housing $56 million at 3,663 theaters and rallying the top 12 films to a $145.8 million total, up 11% over June’s second frame a year ago.
But thank the box office Gods that the Will and Jada Pinkett Smith production was in the marketplace, because the multiplex business would be in the dumps had it relied solely on Fox’s big screen adaptation of Stephen J. Cannell’s ‘80s TV show The A-Team, which bombed in second with $26 million at 3,535 battle stations. Fox was hoping for a three-day in the range of $30 million, while Sony execs are kicking up their heels as Karate Kid charted the studio’s biggest June bow ever.
Clearly evident: audiences savor a smart franchise re-boot, and Karate Kid takes it cue from such predecessors as Casino Royale and Star Trek in terms of upping the creative elements from its previous installments (Karate Kid boasts both Chan and mainland China setting).
The weekend Top Ten chart is below, along with a look at how the summer franchises are faring. This weekend also brought welcome numbers for Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Winter’s Bone, which lead a potent weekend for indie debuts, reports indieWIRE.
Furthermore, it helps to have teen pop sensation Justin Bieber on your side when marketing a movie. In a classic case of syncing a film’s title song to a film’s opening (which doesn’t always work nowadays for studio soundtrack departments in the digital music download age), Bieber assisted in rallying his 3.07 million Twitter followers to the cinema this weekend with the Tuesday release of his duet video Never Say Never with Karate Kid headliner Jaden Smith. The result? Karate Kid attracted an under 25 crowd of 56% with a split among females to males of 53% to 47%. Long term buzz looks excellent with an A Cinemascore.
With a budget of $40 million, Sony looks to see black on its accounting ledger for Karate Kid, while Fox’s books are drowning in red ink on the $100 million cost of A-Team, which toiled in development for 10 years with 11 writers taking a stab.
Among Jackie Chan’s live features, Karate Kid is the action star’s second best opening after 2001’s Rush Hour 2 which drove in $67.4 million in its first weekend.
A-Team’s tepid ticket sales brings into question whether big screen TV adaptations are out of step with moviegoers’ tastes. A-Team’s is one of the lowest first weekends for a June TV-inspired film, charting way below 2008’s Get Smart ($38.7 million) and even 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle ($37.6 million). From Friday onward, the daily B.O. for A-Team fell from $9.65 million to $9.3 million on Saturday to an estimated $7.05 million on Sunday. Not a good sign, given that Saturday is the highest day of the weekend for a wide release. Ironically, A-Team did receive an A grade from the under-25 set, but they made up the minority of the film’s audience with 39% (overall Cinemascore was B+). Obviously, this was a film meant for Gen-Xers, not millennials, with 61% being over 25. Film led 59% of guys to the cinema vs. 41% gals.
Fox remains optimistic that the film will continue to attract those youngins’ unfamiliar with the NBC TV show. (If so, what’s the point of using an established title?) However, given the summer competition, not to mention Fox’s unspooling its second action film in 10 days, the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz Knight and Day (which is building good buzz), it’s questionable whether A-Team will emulate the track record of Liam Neeson’s previous shoot-em up Taken which made 17% of its total $145 million domestic take upfront (and Taken cost three-quarters less than A-Team).
Ticket sales may be improving overall at the box office, but we’ve seen a lot better during this frame: 2008 saw a top 12 tally of $176 million as the top three films pulled in $30 million-plus, led by The Incredible Hulk which screamed $55.4 million in green.
Here’s a quick rundown on how certain franchises are faring this summer:
—Iron Man 2 in its sixth weekend with a total domestic cume of $299.3 million is running 4% ahead of its first installment versus the same respective frame.
—Get Him to the Greek in its second weekend with $36.5 million is grossing 4% higher than the first 10 days of Forgetting Sarah Marshall which featured Greek’s Russell Brand protagonist Aldous Snow.
—Shrek Forever After in its fourth weekend with $210.1 million is 25% behind the comparative running cume of Shrek the Third and 41% behind Shrek 2.
—Sex and the City 2 in its third weekend at $84.7 million is trailing its first chapter by 29%.
Weekend Box Office Top Ten Chart:
1. The Karate Kid (Sony): $56 million in its first weekend at 3,663 theaters. $15,288 theater average. Domestic total: $56 million.
2. The A-Team (Fox): $26 million in its first weekend at 3,535 theaters. $7,355 theater average. Domestic total: $26 million.
3. Shrek Forever After (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $15.8 million down 38% in its fourth weekend at 3,868 theaters. $4,085 theater average. Domestic total: $210.1 million.
4. Get Him to the Greek (Universal): $10.1 million in its second weekend down 43% at 2,702 theaters. $3,730 theater average. Domestic total: $36.5 million.
5. Killers (Lionsgate): $8.17 million in its second weekend down 48% at 2,859 theaters. $2,857 theater average. Domestic total: $30.7 million.
6. Prince of Persia (Disney): $6.58 million in its third weekend down 53% at 3,108 theaters. $2,118 theater average. Domestic total: $72.3 million.
7. Marmaduke (Fox): $6 million in its second weekend down 48% at 3,213 theaters. $1,867 theater average. Domestic total: $22.3 million.
8. Sex and the City 2 (Warner Bros.): $5.53 million in its third weekend down 55% at 2,750 theaters. $2,009 theater average. Domestic total: $84.7 million.
9. Iron Man 2 (Paramount): $4.55 million down 43% in its sixth weekend at 2,305 theaters. $1,974 theater average. Domestic total: $299.3 million.
10. Splice (Warner Bros.): $ 2.86 million in its second weekend down 61% at 2,450 theaters. $1,167 theater average. Domestic total: $13.1 million.
The LATimes video review from Betsy Sharkey: