Green Lantern Opening Underwhelms

Though it topped the box-office charts and seems to be doing better with the general public than it has with the critics, Warner Bros.’ “Green Lantern” opening weekend box-office haul $52.7 million is being seen as a disappointment for the costly project.

The studio’s estimates earlier this week had it falling somewhere between the $55 million opening of “X-Men: First Class” and the $65 million opening of “Thor” with the result likely closer to the latter as the 3D revenue ‘bump’ would raise the price (‘Thor’ scored several additional millions from being both in 3D & on IMAX, while ‘X-Men’ was a 2D-only non-IMAX release).

On Friday things looked good as well with $3.3 million in midnight showings and a $21.6 million opening day haul. Yet it was downhill from there with Saturday’s takings dropping to $16.8 million – a second day drop of 22%. This is where good reviews and word-of-mouth come into play – “X-Men: First Class” fell 7.9% and “Thor” fell 8.4% on their second days.

Warners is hoping Father’s Day will give the film a boost today with the $52.7M weekend estimate certainly on the upper side of things. If that bump doesn’t appear and the actual drop-off is more akin to “Thor” and “X-Men”, that final tally will be closer to a flat $50 million.

The result is not good for a film that cost $300 million to make and market and only scored 25% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. With such a drop off so quickly, the wonder is what kind of longevity will the film have.

There’s also the question of international box-office as, unlike the already established “X-Men” franchise and at least an understanding of the “Thor” concept via mythology, ‘Lantern’ simply doesn’t have much of a fanbase outside the United States that’s comparable to the other top tier DC and Marvel heroes. “X-Men” and “Thor” have done better internationally than domestically, but with most comic book films that arrangement is usually the other way around.

Faring better though is everything else. J.J. Abrams “Super 8” fell a modest 40.1%, a result Paramount will no doubt be happy with. While some have begun to question the legitimacy of the $50 million budget the studio is claiming, the film is already at $72 million domestically and will prove quite profitable.

With an $18.2 million opening despite horrendous reviews, Jim Carrey starrer “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” matched the opening of most recent Carrey films. Also of note, “The Hangover Part II” has scored $488 million worldwide – surpassing the original to become the biggest R-rated comedy globally.