By Anthony D'Alessandro | Thompson on Hollywood May 16, 2010 at 10:30AM
Iron Man 2 held onto number one as Ridley Scott's costly period epic Robin Hood took second in North America, but scored big overseas, reports Anthony D'Alessandro.
Iron Man 2 held strong at the weekend box office, taking No. 1 with $53 million at 4,390 theaters, dropping 59% in its second weekend--that's better than second weekend falls for such superhero May sequels as X–Men Origins: Wolverine (-69%) and Spider-Man 3 (-62%). Iron Man 2 has some legs.
Robin Hood, director Ridley Scott’s fifth collaboration with leading man Russell Crowe, was the biggest weekend opener in the world stealing $111.1 million from 10,447 playdates, with $37.1 million of that figure coming from 3,503 domestic venues. Thus Universal distribution chief Nikki Rocco had to settle for heralding the opening as a “global effort.” With an international take of $74 million, Robin Hood is Universal’s second best bow in foreign markets after King Kong, which wrestled $84.3 million. She cited a great filmmaker, spectacular talent and enduring subject matter for the film's global opening. The film skewed to older males (37% were under the age of 30 while 63% of the crowd skewed over, with a Cinema Score of B- and Tomatometer of 45%) to counterbalance the stateside youth appeal of Iron Man 2.
Robin Hood boasted the advantage in the foreign market, especially given the track record of historical epics overseas. For example, Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven crashed at the domestic B.O. in 2005 with $47.4 million, but the Crusades tale collected $164.3 million abroad. Gladiator was a success here and overseas respectively splitting $187.7 million to $269.9 million. Other examples abound – Oliver Stone’s Alexander rallied at the international B.O. with $133 million to its paltry domestic count of $34.3 million.
Robin Hood’s global weekend comes as good news for Universal and co-financier Relativity Media, not only because of its hefty $200-million budget (less a few tax credits), but also because the duo have had a string of misfires this year including Green Zone ($35.1 million) and The Wolfman ($62 million). Also, Robin Hood had an extra edge overseas, as Iron Man 2 played into its third week.
Internationally, Robin Hood is the best opening for Scott. But domestically it’s the director’s third best behind the 2001 Silence of the Lambs sequel Hannibal, which stabbed $58 million, and his R-rated 1970s epic American Gangster which drew $43.6 million. Robin Hood is definitely a boom over Scott’s previous disaster, Body of Lies; its opening alone comes close to beating the entire domestic take of the Leonardo DiCaprio-Crowe C.I.A. film which made $39.4 million. Overall, Robin Hood hit a bulls eye with 56% males versus 46% females.
The original reboot of the Scott-Crowe Robin Hood sounded riveting. In February 2007, the project was initially billed as Nottingham, with Crowe set to play the Sheriff of Nottingham in a revisionist take on the Robin Hood legend as penned by Sleeper Cell screenwriters Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. The storyline focused on the Sheriff being more virtuous than Robin Hood as well as a love triangle with Maid Marion. In February 2009, when Cate Blanchett joined the cast as Marion, the studio decided to stick to the heroic angle of the Robin of Loxley legend that auds know so well.
It was also announced that Crowe received $20 million against 20% to star while the screenwriters walked away with seven figures. Production on Nottingham was delayed due to the writers strike in 2007.
Playing against the testosterone of Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood were two female romantic comedies, Summit Entertainment’s Letters to Juliet and Fox Searchlight’s Queen Latifah headliner Just Wright which was handled by big Fox.
Though Juliet paled next to the bow of Amanda Seyfried’s previous opener Dear John, Summit is hopeful about the film’s longevity in the summer market as kids get out of school, not to mention its A- Cinemascore. 63% of the Juliet audience were over 25, 37% under; 81% were female. With an estimated production cost of $30 million, Summit says that it is exposed on half of that after factoring in rebates, incentives and foreign pre-sales. Dear John boasted a guaranteed fan base from the Nicholas Sparks novel.
Cost-efficient Fox Searchlight kept the budget on NBA basketball player pic Just Wright to just $12.25 million and targeted its marketing campaign and opening to the play-offs.
Top Ten Weekend Box Office Chart:
1. Iron Man 2 (Paramount): $53 million down 59% in its second weekend at 4,390 theaters. $12,073 theater average. Domestic total: $212.2 million.
2. Robin Hood (Universal): $37.1 million in its first weekend at 3,503 theaters. $10,595 theater average. Domestic total: $37.1 million.
3. Letters to Juliet (Summit): $13.8 million in its first weekend at 2,968 theaters. $4,633 theater average. Domestic total: $13.8 million.
4. Just Wright (Fox/Fox Searchlight): $8.5 million in its first weekend at 1,831 theaters. $4,642 theater average. Domestic total: $8.5 million.
5. How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $5.12 million down 23% in its eighth weekend at 2,620 theaters. $1,954 theater average. Domestic total: $207.8 million.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Warner Bros./New Line): $4.7 million down 48% in its third weekend at 3,075 theaters. $1,528 theater average. Domestic total: $56.1 million
7. Date Night (Fox): $4.1 million down 26% in its sixth weekend at 2,481 theaters. $1,632 theater average. Domestic total: $86.7 million.
8. The Back-up Plan (CBS Films): $2.465 million down 51% in its fourth weekend at 2,497 theaters. $987 theater average. Domestic total: $34.2 million.
9. Furry Vengeance (Summit): $2.3 million down 49% in its third weekend at 2,695 theaters. $853 theater average. Domestic total: $15.1 million.
10. Clash of the Titans (Warner Bros.): $1.255 million down 50% in its seventh weekend at 1,300 theaters. $965 theater average. Domestic total: $160.2