'Shrek Forever After' leads slow Hollywood weekend
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Hollywood is in a June swoon as a rush of new movies fails to grab audiences.
DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek Forever After" remained the No. 1 movie for a third-straight weekend with $25.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. It raised its three-week domestic total to $183 million.
"It appears that the family audience is dominating the box office right now, and families clearly want to see 'Shrek,' said Anne Globe, head of marketing for DreamWorks Animation.
The overall box office tumbled, coming in at $125 million, down 24 percent compared to the same weekend last year, when "The Hangover" opened with $45 million, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
The best of the newcomers was Universal's rock 'n'roll comedy "Get Him to the Greek," which debuted at No. 2 with $17.4 million. The movie stars Jonah Hill as a record executive escorting an unruly rocker (Russell Brand) from London to Los Angeles for a concert.
Opening at No. 3 with $16.1 million was Lionsgate's action comedy "Killers," starring Katherine Heigl as a woman who marries her dream man (Ashton Kutcher) only to learn he's an international assassin.
Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, said the studio is happy with the results for "Get Him to the Greek" but that slumping revenues for Hollywood in general are a concern.
"Everybody is talking to me about that, and I don't have an answer," Rocco said.
The weekend after Memorial Day a year ago, the blockbuster "Up" premiered with $68.1 million. That was more than the combined $52.3 million total for "Get Him to the Greek," ''Killers" and anemic openings for this weekend's two other new wide releases -- 20th Century Fox's family comedy "Marmaduke" at $11.3 million and the Warner Bros. horror tale "Splice" at $7.5 million.
"The films a year ago were generating a ton of excitement, and this year's just kind of falling flat. You had four new wide releases, and a three-week-old movie is still No. 1," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "I don't know if they're bored or if ticket prices are too high or if they just have other things to do."
The quiet weekend follows a sluggish May that ended with the slowest Memorial Day holiday in 17 years in terms of movie attendance. Two big Memorial Day weekend releases, the Warner Bros. sequel "Sex and the City 2" and Disney's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," failed to light up the box office, and both fell off sharply in their second weekends.
"Prince of Persia" was No. 4 with $13.9 million, down 54 percent from opening weekend and raising its domestic total to $59.5 million. "Sex and the City 2" finished at No. 5 with $12.7 million, down 59 percent and lifting its haul to $73.4 million.
For the year, Hollywood revenues are at $4.47 billion, up 3.7 percent over the record pace last year. But factoring in higher ticket prices, attendance now has slipped 2.7 percent behind last year's, according to Hollywood.com.
The box office can turn on a dime, though, so Hollywood could regain its momentum with just a few big hits.
"I'm still confident when you take a look at some of the films coming up in the summer, that audiences will start coming out in droves," said David Spitz, head of distribution for Lionsgate. "There's a lot of big titles, including next weekend."
This Friday brings a 1980s flashback with a remake of "The Karate Kid" starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, the son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and a big-screen adaptation of the TV action series "The A-Team," featuring Liam Neeson, Jessica Biel and "The Hangover" co-star Bradley Cooper.
Still to come are "Toy Story 3," reuniting voice stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen; Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz's action comedy "Knight and Day"; "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the third installment in the vampire-romance franchise; and Leonardo DiCaprio's science-fiction thriller "Inception," from "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Shrek Forever After," $25.3 million.
2. "Get Him to the Greek," $17.4 million.
3. "Killers," $16.1 million.
4. "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," $13.9 million.
5. "Sex and the City 2," $12.7 million.
6. "Marmaduke," $11.3 million.
7. "Iron Man 2," $7.8 million.
8. "Splice," $7.5 million.
9. "Robin Hood," $5.1 million.
10. "Letters to Juliet," $3 million.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Rogue Pictures is owned by Relativity Media LLC; Overture Films is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp.