Box Office: ‘Shrek’ Takes the Weekend

Normally $71 Million sounds like a pretty good haul, but despite making that over the weekend, Shrek Forever After was widely considered a box office disappointment, compared to its predecessors.  In 2007, Shrek 3 made over $121 Million on its opening weekend, a cool $50 Million over this total.

Consider that the 3D ticket prices were much higher for Shrek 4, and it seems that not near as many people were clamoring to see the final chapter of the fairy tale franchise.  It also opened on a staggering 4,300 screens, which is a full thousand more than most tent-pole movies get, so lack of accessibility certainly wasn’t the issue.

However, word of mouth by exiting audience members is good (cinemascore of A, according to Entertainment Weekly), and the kiddos will be out of school in the next few weeks.  The family demographic will likely provide Shrek 4 with a long run at the box office, similar to How to Train Your Dragon. The movie will need to have that very thing happen to earn back its reported $165 Million budget.

Coming in at a very strong second place was Iron Man 2, earning a robust $26.6 Million in its third week in release. Not too shabby.  Robin Hood earned another $18.7 Million, bringing its two-week total to $66 Million. The film still is performing better overseas, so it should earn back its whopping $200 million budget.

Letters to Juliet came in at number four, and only dropped around 32% from its opening weekend.  After this weekend’s $9 Million, it stands at $27 Million for two weeks.  Letters has enjoyed being the sole chick-flick out there with all the action films, but next weekend it will be squashed by Sex and the City 2.

Most industry types were pretty surprised by what a box office bomb MacGruber turned out to be. Universal did not screen the movie until 9pm the night before its release, insuring that most outlets could not make deadline. This move really puzzled me, quite frankly, because almost every one I know who saw it at SXSW had pretty good things to say about it, and a lot of those people are not easy to please.

At any rate, I don’t know if that affected the box office or not, but MacGruber only managed a paltry $4.1 Million over the weekend. Again, I am surprised, because it had the built-in recognition from SNL, and I thought it would be a shoo-in for at least a $20 Million weekend.

This has been a really disappointing year for Universal. The have released a string of duds; Wolfman, Repo Man, Leap Year, Green Zone,  and now Robin Hood and MacGruber.  Just goes to show how hard it is to predict what the public wants to see.

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