You have to wonder if Warner Brothers is getting a little nervous about Zack Snyder taking on the Superman franchise next. Not only was his latest film, Sucker Punch, trounced by critics, its “sure-fire” walk to the #1 spot in this weekend’s box office was done away with. It wasn’t the latest blockbuster that beat the sci-fi, action movie out. It wasn’t even a comedy vehicle for someone like Adam Sandler. It was the second film in what is sure to be a lucrative franchise for Fox, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid sequel.
Sure, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules beat Sucker Punch for the coveted #1 spot. You have to wonder, though, how much of this was the result of Wimpy Kid being such a strong film and how much was the result of Snyder’s latest getting all kinds of poor word of mouth. Diary of a Wimpy Kid opened pretty much in line with expectations, slightly higher than its 2010 predecessor but nowhere near eye-opening. It didn’t even crack $25 million.
On the other hand, Sucker Punch performed much poorer than expected. That $30-35-million estimate for the film seemed possible after its $8-million opening Friday. Then its numbers dropped liked a defective blimp. $6.7 million on Saturday and and estimated $4.2 million on Sunday. Likewise, Wimpy Kid’s $7.3 million on Friday rose to over $10 million on Saturday. In fact, Sucker Punch was the only film in release this weekend whose Saturday numbers were poorer than those on Friday, a definite indicator of the affect the bad word of mouth had on it.
So we go back to Warner Brothers, Zack Snyder, and the Superman franchise. Superman: Man of Steel is sure to have a much larger budget than Sucker Punch’s reported $82 million. At least that’s the belief at this time. Who knows what might happen between now and then. Between the stigma that is likely to come with Snyder now and the $270 million WB spend on 2006’s Superman Returns – it ended up bringing in $391 million worldwide – the budget on the latest Superman movie may begin to dwindle. Just as Sony has done with Marc Webb’s upcoming Spider-Man reboot, the newest Superman may have to fall back to something lighter and not so much a blockbuster. Who knows? Maybe WB will look to replace Snyder with David Bowers.
Elsewhere on the charts, Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer had very impressive second weekend drops, less than 20% for each film. The other release from last weekend, Paul, wasn’t so lucky, and the road-trip sci-fi comedy will have to struggle in order to match its $40-million reported budget in domestic receipts. Rango was able to break past $100 million this weekend. Good for Johnny Depp. He needs a little success in his life.
Here’s how the weekend broke down:
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules – $24.4m NEW
- Sucker Punch – $19m NEW
- Limitless – $15.2m (-19.5%) $41.2m total
- The Lincoln Lawyer – $11m (-16.7%) $28.9m total
- Rango – $9.8m (-35%) $106.3m total
- Battle: Los Angeles – $7.6m (-47.7%) $72.5m total
- Paul – $7.5m (-42.5%) $24.6m total
- Red Riding Hood – $4.3m (-39.6%) $32.4m total
- The Adjustment Bureau – $4.2m (-26.5%) $54.8m total
- Mars Needs Moms – $2.1m (-58.9%) $19.1m total
The weekend’s top 10 were able to bring in $105.1 million, up from last weekend but not by as much as the industry had hoped. That’s also down from the previous two weekends before that. Sucker Punch wasn’t able to help the overall box office nearly as much as Rango and Battle: Los Angeles, and that idea of the Summer movie season moving up a month or two may have to be put back on hold for the foreseeable future.
We’ve got another eclectic mix of new releases next weekend. While the holiday comedy Hop will more than likely come out on top, it will have to contend with Duncan Jones’s second film, Source Code, and the James Wan-directed ghost movie, Insidious. We’ll also see the Weinstein Company releasing their PG-13 version of The King’s Speech on roughly 1000 screens. April Fools’ Day indeed!
We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.