"Karate Kid" crunches "A-Team" at box office

Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:32pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Will Smith family acting dynasty is officially open for business.

The actor's 11-year-old son, Jaden, kicked his way to the top of the North American box office on Sunday in a remake of "The Karate Kid," one of two new films cashing in on 1980s nostalgia.

Columbia Pictures' "The Karate Kid" earned an estimated $56 million during its first three days, vanquishing 20th Century Fox's "The A-Team," a distant No. 2 with $26 million. Both films had been expected to vie for the top spot, each in the $30 million range.

Last weekend's champion, "Shrek Forever After," fell to No. 3 with $15.8 million. The top five was rounded out by a pair of comedies that debuted modestly last weekend: "Get Him to the Greek" ($10.1 million) and "Killers" ($8.2 million).

The two new arrivals helped the sluggish summer box office end a three-week year-on-year decline. The top 12 films grossed $146 million, up about 11 percent from the year-ago period, according to tracking firm Hollywood.com Box-Office.

"The Karate Kid," a $40 million kung fu picture co-starring Jackie Chan as the mentor of Smith's troubled inner-city kid, played strongly across all demographics. Exit surveys indicated that 94 percent of moviegoers rated it either "excellent" or "very good," said distributor Columbia Pictures.

"It's got tremendous heart, humor and depth," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at the Sony Corp unit. He said the film's underdog plotline and exotic locale -- most of it was shot in China -- worked in its favor.

THUMBS UP FROM JUSTON BIEBER

It did not hurt to get some help from Canadian teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, who sings the theme song and has been recommending the film to his young female fans. On the other hand, Ralph Macchio, the star of the 1984 original, said on Twitter that his film's legacy "remains untouched."   Continued...