What once looked to be a potentially close race only a little while back turned out to be no contest this weekend as Sony's The Green Hornet topped Universal's The Dilemma with ease. With an estimated four-day start of $40.00 million, The Green Hornet opened on the high end of expectations and nearly doubled the four-day start of The Dilemma in the process. The Green Hornet delivered the second largest four-day debut ever over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend (behind only the $46.15 million start of 2008's Cloverfield). The film's three-day start of $33.70 million also marked the third largest January opening weekend of all-time (without taking into account ticket price inflation).
The Green Hornet was helped out in a big way by both a strong marketing campaign and by its higher priced 3D admissions. 3D and IMAX screenings were responsible for 69 percent of the film's opening weekend gross. Male moviegoers made up 61 percent of the film's audience, while the film played evenly between moviegoers over 25 and those under 25. The film's appeal with teens and tweens was especially important and could help the film hold up better than originally expected going forward. Even after the solid start this weekend, The Green Hornet will need to do just that given its pricey production and marketing costs.
The Dilemma had to settle for a distant second place finish of $21.10 million over the four-day frame. On paper the drawing power of Vince Vaughn, Kevin James and director Ron Howard seemed like a sure thing. However, at the end of the day the film opened below its already lowered expectations and represented a soft debut by the standards of each of its two leads. Unlike The Green Hornet, the marketing campaign never seemed to really work for The Dilemma and that clearly hurt the film in a big way this weekend.
The one saving grace for The Dilemma in this weekend's battle is that its production budget of $70 million was far less than that of The Green Hornet. The film skewed heavily towards both older moviegoers and female moviegoers with 58 percent of its audience being 30, and over, and 60 percent of its audience being female. With that in mind The Dilemma could very well take a significant hit from Paramount's No String Attached next weekend.
Oscar hopefuls rounded out the rest of the top five over the holiday weekend. Though it had the weakest hold of the three, Paramount's True Grit led the bunch with an estimated four-day take of $13.10 million. The western remake was down a slim 10 percent from last weekend's three-day frame and continues to defy expectations in a very big way with a 27-day gross of $128.31 million.
The King's Speech was up an impressive 74 percent over last weekend to claim fourth place with an estimated four-day take of $11.18 million. The drama from The Weinstein Company expanded into an additional 785 locations this weekend and was still able to generate a four-day per-location average of $7,247 in the process. The King's Speech has grossed $46.70 million to date and looks to continue to hold up well on the heels of Colin Firth's Golden Globe win for Best Actor in a Drama.
Fox Searchlight's Black Swan took fifth place with an estimated $10.35 million. The Darren Aronofsky directed film starring Golden Globe winner Natalie Portman was up 28 percent from last weekend. However, in expanding into an additional 744 locations this weekend, the film did finally see its per-location average come down to Earth a bit. Black Swan has grossed $75.22 million to date; already making it one of 2010's biggest surprises and leaving it just $24.78 million away from the $100 million domestic milestone.
Additional Reporting by Phil Contrino.