'Shrek Forever After' opens below expectations, while 'MacGruber' bombs.

‘Shrek’ Isn’t ‘Forever After’ All

on May 24, 2010 by Daniel Garris

Though it was easily the weekend's top film with $70.84 million, Shrek Forever After was off to a relatively slow start domestically. The latest 3D computer animated film from Paramount and DreamWorks opened below its already lowered expectations. Furthermore, Shrek Forever After opened well below the respective $121.63 million and $108.04 million debuts of 2007's Shrek the Third and 2004's Shrek 2. The gap becomes even more noticeable when adjusting for ticket price inflation, as both Shrek the Third and Shrek 2 now have adjusted opening weekends in the area of $140 million. At the same time, Shrek Forever After was able to generate the third largest debut of 2010 so far (behind only Iron Man 2 and Alice in Wonderland).

One good sign going forward for Shrek Forever After is that the film held up well on Saturday and Sunday after a $20.80 million start on Friday. Clearly, older-skewing Friday night audiences were less enthusiastic about another helping of Shrek than family audiences were on Saturday and Sunday. That suggests that the film could hold up better than Shrek the Third in the weeks ahead, which the film really needs to do after this weekend's performance. Higher priced tickets for 3D engagements and not having to deal with a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel should also help the film's holding power as well.

Internationally, Shrek Forever After grossed $26.0 million while playing in only nine territories. The bulk of the film's international gross came from Russia, where it grossed a record breaking $20.0 million this weekend. Other international debuts included $1.3 million in the Ukraine, $1.3 million in the Philippines and $1.1 million in Singapore.

After two weeks of occupying the top spot at the box office, fellow Paramount release Iron Man 2 fell to second this weekend. The blockbuster sequel grossed $26.36 million, which was down 49 percent from last weekend. In comparison, Iron Man 2 didn't hold up as well as 2008's Iron Man did in its third weekend of release (it was down 38 percent to gross $31.84 million), but held up slightly better than 2007's Spider-Man 3 did in its third weekend (it was down 50 percent to gross $29.02 million). Iron Man 2 has grossed $251.03 million through 17 days, placing it 12.5 percent ahead of Iron Man and 11 percent behind Spider-Man 3 at the same point in their runs.

Universal's Robin Hood finished in third with $18.77 million. The big-budget production from director Ridley Scott was down 48 percent from last weekend's debut. That was a slightly better hold than most were expecting, but still represented a significant second weekend decline for the film. Robin Hood has grossed $66.17 million through ten days, placing the film 23 percent behind the pace of 2004's Troy (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). At its current pace, Robin Hood looks to be headed for a final gross in the neighborhood of $105 million.

Robin Hood continues to perform stronger internationally, as it grossed $30.0 million from 58 territories. That brings the film's international total to a very respectable $125 million. Second weekend grosses in key markets included $3.2 million in Korea, $3.1 million in Australia, $2.6 million in France and $2.1 million in the United Kingdom.

Back on the domestic front, Letters to Juliet held up quite nicely in its second weekend. The Summit release starring Amanda Seyfried grossed $9.01 million, which was down a modest 33 percent from last weekend. Though it opened on the lower end of expectations last weekend, Letters to Juliet has now grossed $27.33 million in ten days after displaying solid holding power over the past week. Letters to Juliet is currently running 9 percent behind last year's Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and 2 percent ahead of 2008's Made of Honor.

The news was nowhere near as good for MacGruber. The big screen adaptation of the Saturday Night Live skit starring Will Forte and Kristen Wiig opened in sixth with a very disappointing $4.04 million. The Universal and Rogue release earned a lackluster per-location average of $1,585 from 2,551 locations. MacGruber did carry a low production budget in the area of $10 million and should finish its domestic run in the same $10 million neighborhood.

Tags: MacGruber, Letters to Juliet, Robin Hood, Iron Man 2, Shrek Forever After

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