erik lundegaard

Hollywood B.O.: The B-Team

In the battle of the 1980s remakes, “The Karate Kid” kicked the butt of “The A-Team” at the U.S. box office last weekend: $56 million to $26 million. This is gratifying on several levels:

  • “Kid”'s Rotten Tomatoes rating is almost 20 points higher than “A-Team”'s, 70% to 53%, or among top critics 66% to 48%, and I've been a longtime proponent of the notion that quality matters.
  • Jackie Chan. I've been a fan since the days when the U.S. feared Japanese economic might rather than Chinese economic might, and I'm always happy when he does well at the U.S. box office.
  • “Kid” is a formulaic underdog story. “A-Team” is a formulaic overdog story. If you're going formula, I'll take the underdog.
  • “The A-Team” cost $110 million, stars three white guys and an angry black guy, and was futzed over by 11 screenwriters hired and fired by Fox, a studio which is infamous for dumbing down its product. “The Karate Kid” cost $40 million, stars a black kid and a Chinese guy, lists only one screenwriter, and its studio, Sony, was able to keep itself out of the conversation.

As for why it did well? I don't think any of the above really had much to do with it. I think it opened well for the following reasons:

  • It stars a kid who looks like a kid. Kids identify.
  • It's rated PG (rather than the more covetted PG-13) so kids can actually see it.
  • One line from the trailer: “I get it. You're Yoda and I'm like a Jedi.” 

What kid wouldn't want to go after hearing that line? It's a real-life Yoda-Luke thing!

As for the rest of the top 15? A steady if unremarkable decline for the crap May/June releases. It looks like “Sex and the City 2,” currently at $84.7 million, will peter out (sorry) before $100 million. It looks like “Robin Hood,” at $99.6 million, won't.

But the worst performer seems to be “Marmaduke.” After 10 days, in over 3,200 theaters, its domestic box office stands at a mere $22 million. Not good for a family comedy with a budget of $50 million. But this should be expected: its RT rating is only 11%. And its studio? Fox.

“I get it: You're Yoda and I'm like a Jedi.” The irony is that the old master, “Star Wars,” is a Fox film, but from its wiser, 20th Century days.

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Posted at 08:49 AM on Mon. Jun 14, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office  

COMMENTS

Karen wrote:

You would think that line would have sent your nephews running to the theaters. Would they go? No. I don't understand them sometimes. And I kind of wanted to see it.
Comment posted on Thu. Jun 17, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Kyla wrote:

Karen, my kids won't go either....
Comment posted on Sun. Jun 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM

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