Who would have thought a 12-year-old descended from Hollywood royalty would be the summer box office savior? Such is the case as Jaden Smith and his starring role in “The Karate Kid” propelled the box office to 11 percent up from last year at this time, when everyone was talking “The Hangover” and “Up.”
He also dominated over the macho “A-Team,” more than doubling the opening weekend gross of the ’80s television adaptation. In a summer that’s been primarily dominated by misfires, we’ll take the good news even if it means Mr. Jaden Smith is going to command quite a paycheck the next time he lands a starring role.
From director Harald Zwart, “The Karate Kid” grossed an estimated $56 million and earned an A grade from audiences, according to exit pollster CinemaScore. It seems not even the 2 hour and 20 minute run time thwarted moviegoers from the China-set underdog story. And with such a strong score from audiences, “Karate Kid” is now on track to become one of summer’s biggest hits. Don’t be surprised if this film with the $40 million budget grosses well over $200 million before the summer is over.
In contrast, “The A-Team,” earned $26 million for its opening frame. It’s not a terrible start, but it is well beneath expectations. Its solid B+ grade from audiences should help the film hold in throughout the upcoming weeks. That’s an outcome studio Twentieth Century Fox will be counting on. After a disappointment last weekend with “Marmaduke,” Fox needs both “A-Team” and the upcoming “Knight & Day,” starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, to be hits.
“Shrek Forever After” is still holding in well. The Dreamworks Animation film earned another $15.8 million, 38 percent less than what it made last weekend. That puts the film’s cume at $210 million, a number that, while solid, will still likely end up far beneath any of the other Shrek releases.
In fourth place was holdover “Get Him to the Greek” which performed almost exactly like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” the film where these lead characters originated. Earning another $10.1 million, the film dropped 43 percent for a total take of $36.5 million.
The Ashton Kutcher-Katherine Heigl-starrer “Killers” also fell off less than 50 percent for a fifth place slot. The romantic actioner that’s been panned by critics grossed another $8 million, putting its total at $22.5 million.
Holdovers dominated the rest of the top ten with “Prince of Persia” grossing $6.5 million, a 53 percent drop that puts the film’s three-week gross at $72.3 million.
“Marmaduke” took the seventh slot, falling 48 percent for its second session in theaters. The talking dog movie earned $6 million its second weekend in theaters for an anemic two-week gross of $22.2 million.
“Sex and the City 2” dropped 55 percent its third weekend, grossing another $5.5 million for a total cume of $84.7 million. It’s practically impossible for this sequel to match the original which earned $152 million two summers ago.
“Iron Man 2” is on the verge of $300 million with an additional $4.5 million added to its coffers this weekend.
And poor “Splice” rounded out the top ten with another $2.8 million for the well-reviewed but poorly received horror film. Losing more than 60 percent of its value its second weekend, the Warner Bros. release has only grossed $13 million after two weekends in release.