"Green Lantern" falls short at box office

Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:37pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The costly superhero movie "Green Lantern" flickered at the weekend box office in North America, while "Mr. Popper's Penguins" exceeded low-ball forecasts.

According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, "Green Lantern" earned about $52.7 million -- at the lower end of expectations -- during its first three days of release across the United States and Canada.

The Warner Bros. 3-D release will need to make up ground overseas to recoup its reported $200 million production budget and its $125 million worldwide marketing tab. The studio said those numbers were too high, but declined to give its own figures.

Ideally, the picture would have opened to about $55 million, said Dan Fellman, the president of domestic theatrical distribution at the Time Warner Inc unit. But it was too early to get an accurate picture of its prospects, he added.

Critics mauled the picture, which stars Ryan Reynolds as an intergalactic space cop. The relatively obscure character originated in a DC Comics book, and is the latest superhero to invade theaters in recent weeks following "Thor" ($65 million opening) and a fifth "X-Men" movie ($55 million).

Somewhat ominously for the 3-D fad, just 45 percent of the "Green Lantern" haul came from engagements where moviegoers paid a premium for the extra dimension. Big movies usually do about 60 percent of their business in 3-D. But the novelty has faded in recent months as moviegoers question the merit of paying more for an experience often considered underwhelming. 3-D accounted for 55 percent of the opening tally for "Thor," and 46 percent for the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel.

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Jim Carrey's family comedy "Mr. Popper's Penguins" came in at No. 3 with $18.2 million, exceeding the diminished $10 million to $15 million expectations of its distributor, 20th Century Fox.

The News Corp unit was confident about the long-term prospects for its $55 million movie, citing strong exit polls. On the other hand "Penguins" has just a few more days to attract families before they all line up for Pixar Animation's "Cars 2" sequel beginning June 24.   Continued...

 
<p>Cast member Ryan Reynolds poses at the premiere of "Green Lantern" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 15, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>