Weekend Box Office (June 4 - 6, 2010)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The summer box office slump spilled into a new month as the North American box office delivered the worst June frame in five years. Four new releases targeting different audiences were sprinkled throughout the top ten but none managed to unseat reigning chart king Shrek Forever After which held the number one spot for the third straight time. Ticket sales were once again down sharply compared to last year as the films Hollywood has programmed are still not generating the usual summer excitement.

Shrek Forever After became the first of the four ogre toons to top the box office for three consecutive weekends as the 3D pic grossed $25.5M, according to final studio figures, falling by a relatively light 41% from the Friday-to-Sunday portion of last weekend's Memorial Day holiday session. It was the smallest drop suffered by any wide release. Paramount and DreamWorks Animation have taken in $183.2M after 17 days which still trails the performances of the previous Mike Myers sequels. Shrek 2, the top-grosser of the franchise, had collected $314.5M by this point while Shrek the Third stood at $255.9M. Those films had lower ticket prices and no 3D surcharges. Forever After is on track to finish its run in the vicinity of $250M.

Universal enjoyed a solid opening for its raunchy comedy Get Him to the Greek which laughed up $17.6M leading a quartet of new releases. The R-rated film about a record company assistant assigned to escort an unstable rock star from London to Los Angeles averaged a good $6,515 from 2,697 theaters. Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, and Sean Combs starred and Judd Apatow produced. The debut was almost identical to the $17.7M second place bow and $6,335 average of 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall which inspired the Aldous Snow character played by Brand in Greek. Both films were directed by Nicholas Stoller. Budgeted at $40M, Greek skewed a bit towards adult men as studio research showed that 53% of the audience was male while 55% was under 30.

Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl followed close behind in third place with their new action-comedy Killers which launched with $15.8M from 2,859 sites for a respectable $5,539 average. The PG-13 film about a woman who discovers after getting married that her husband is a secret assassin opened a few notches below the $20.2M debut of Kutcher's last summer offering What Happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz from May 2008. Killers was not screened for the press before its release, but critics reviewing it on opening day panned the film.

Disney saw a steep 53% drop for its expensive adventure film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which grossed $14M following its disappointing holiday opening. With only $59.6M collected after ten days, the Jerry Bruckheimer production looks to end its run near the $90M mark. Overseas and home video revenue need to be stellar in order to recoup the estimated $150-200M in production costs plus the additional cash spent on worldwide marketing.

Suffering the worst decline of any film in the top ten was Sex and the City 2 which tumbled 60% in its second weekend to $12.3M. Warner Bros. has banked only $73.1M in 11 days trailing 28% behind the $101.8M that the first Sex rang up in the same number of days. The gals should end up near the $100M mark at the end of the domestic run.

Fox learned this weekend that Marmaduke is no Marley & Me. The new comic strip pic bowed to $11.6M from 3,213 theaters for a lackluster $3,610 average and did not come close to the $36.4M debut of the studio's other Owen Wilson-led dog flick. Marmaduke was based on a property with only limited popularity and it lacked the dazzle of 3D that kids are now used to from other family films. With The Karate Kid opening Friday and Toy Story 3 in 3D debuting a week later, the road ahead looks difficult for the Great Dane.

Paramount and Marvel took in $7.9M with Iron Man 2, off 52%, raising the total to $291.4M. The super hero sequel rose to number 39 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just behind the $291.7M of 2005's The Chronicles of Narnia. Next week should see the Robert Downey Jr. hit join its predecessor in the $300M club.

Opening poorly in eighth was Splice, a new sci-fi horror entry released by Warner Bros., with $7.4M. The R-rated thriller averaged just $3,014 from 2,450 locations and became the latest fright flick to fail to connect with paying audiences during the early summer period which has never been kind to the genre. Reviews were quite good for a horror pic, though.

Robin Hood fell 48% to ninth place with $5.4M boosting Universal's cume to $94.5M. Rounding out the top ten was Summit's hit romance Letters to Juliet which declined by 48% to $3M for a total of $43.3M to date. Debuting in limited release at number 11 was UTV's new Indian political drama Raajneeti with $850,244 from 124 locations for a solid $6,857 average.

The top ten films grossed $120.6M which was down 24% from last year when The Hangover opened in the top spot with $45M; and down 29% from 2008 when Kung Fu Panda debuted at number one with $60.2M.

Compared to projections, Get Him to the Greek and Killers both opened a couple of notches below my respective forecasts of $20M and $18M. Marmaduke and Splice debuted below my predictions of $14M and $12M, respectively.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

For a review of Get Him to the Greek, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Karate Kid and The A-Team both open.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Jun 4 - 6 May 28 - 30 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Shrek Forever After $ 25,486,465 $ 43,311,063 -41.2 4,386 3 $ 5,811 $ 183,229,453 Paramount
2 Get Him to the Greek 17,570,955 2,697 1 6,515 17,570,955 Universal
3 Killers 15,837,266 2,859 1 5,539 15,837,266 Lionsgate
4 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 14,019,131 30,095,259 -53.4 3,646 2 3,845 59,621,721 Buena Vista
5 Sex and the City 2 12,344,303 31,001,870 -60.2 3,445 2 3,583 73,128,387 Warner Bros.
6 Marmaduke 11,599,661 3,213 1 3,610 11,599,661 Fox
7 Iron Man 2 7,918,708 16,458,990 -51.9 3,007 5 2,633 291,429,870 Paramount
8 Splice 7,385,277 2,450 1 3,014 7,385,277 Warner Bros.
9 Robin Hood 5,366,940 10,405,705 -48.4 2,599 4 2,065 94,496,010 Universal
10 Letters to Juliet 3,036,367 5,833,772 -48.0 1,962 4 1,548 43,337,836 Summit
11 Raajneeti 850,244 124 1 6,857 850,244 UTV Motion Pictures
12 Date Night 775,810 1,817,755 -57.3 658 9 1,179 95,334,452 Fox
13 Just Wright 767,818 2,156,578 -64.4 518 4 1,482 20,193,778 Fox Searchlight
14 How To Train Your Dragon 488,283 1,150,834 -57.6 343 11 1,424 213,883,143 Paramount
15 The Secret in Their Eyes 397,705 457,684 -13.1 160 8 2,486 3,992,319 Sony Classics
16 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 313,774 377,524 -16.9 152 12 2,064 7,382,561 Music Box
17 City Island 308,840 411,875 -25.0 177 12 1,745 5,272,444 Anchor Bay
18 Alice in Wonderland 300,515 586,939 -48.8 277 14 1,085 333,627,878 Buena Vista
19 Please Give 264,567 200,438 32.0 87 6 3,041 1,707,150 Sony Classics
20 Babies 252,958 475,857 -46.8 181 5 1,398 6,529,179 Focus
Top 5 $ 85,258,120 $ 131,272,887 -35.1
Top 10 120,565,073 143,797,811 -16.2
Top 20 125,285,587 148,211,974 -15.5
Top 20 vs. 2009 125,285,587 162,956,382 -23.1

Last Updated: June 7, 2010 at 10:00PM ET