Box Office: Green Lantern #1, Rivals Not Green with Envy

Go figure. Apparently bad reviews really can damage a Summer movie’s prospects. With an ouch-worthy 25% freshness rating over at Rotten Tomatoes (from 170 reviews), Warner Bros.’ “Green Lantern” looks like it’s going to be battling uphill for quite some time in terms of public perception. Made for an estimated $150 million (which when you add in all the other costs associated with marketing a big studio Summer event film, saying the final cost is around $200 million is probably being overly generous), Ryan Reynolds’ first foray into the big-time intergalactic superhero business has come up a bit short. The film grossed $52.6 million according to studio estimates for the weekend, easily giving it the top spot at the box office. That’s the good news.

The bad news? $52.6 million ain’t gonna cut it. But #1 is #1, right? Not so much. The $52.6 million is well below expectations, and doesn’t come close to trumping Marvel’s “Thor”, which opened with $65 million despite sporting an unknown in Chris Hemsworth in the lead. Likewise, “Green Lantern” wasn’t able to defeat Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class”, which claimed the top spot when it opened three weeks ago with $55 million — not a huge margin, but after a worrisome first weekend, the film has shown legs, and has now made $253 million worldwide. It has also remained in the Top 5 after three weeks, adding another $11.5 million.

But hey, on the bright side, at least Ryan Reynolds can say his movie did better than Jim Carrey’s, whose generic kiddie bait “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” opened in third place behind last week’s #1, J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8”, with $18.2 million. My guess is, ol Jim might be looking for sequels to “The Mask” or “Ace Ventura” anytime now. As with most former Hollywood A-listers who used to rule the box office, the surest way back to the top is always reaching back to their last great franchise and doing sequels to them. It did wonders for Sylvester Stallone.

Notes: J.J. Abrams’ well-received “Super 8” has collected $72 million in domestic ticket sales in two weeks of release, and $81 million worldwide. It still has major markets in the UK and most of Asia to go. The film’s monster/sci-fi pedigree should prove to be successful Japan and South Korea, where these types of movies always do very well, so look for “Super 8’s” foreign box office to grow. “The Hangover Part II”, meanwhile, has almost surpassed the first movie’s worldwide box office with $449 million so far. The original topped off at $467 million two years ago. The sequel has already proven more popular than the original with overseas moviegoers, though.