Coming out on top. This weekend's box office was full of disappointment. Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern managed to secure the top spot, but after it's strong debut Friday, sales plummeted 22 percent Saturday, dashing hopes that the film would be a blockbuster (despite its miserable reviews). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lantern earned $52.7 million, below the hoped-for $55 million mark. As the movie cost $200 million to produce, even before its marketing expenditures, there was a high bar for performance. To put it in context of other blockbuster action flicks, Lantern did worse than both Thor and X-Men: First Class.
Rounding out the middle. Another weak opening was the Jim Carrey film Mr. Popper's Penguins, which grossed $18.2 million. It's performance wasn't out of line with Carrey’s latest live-action efforts like Yes Man, but Fox was hoping for better this time around. Fox senior vice president of distribution Bert Livingston had strong predictions for the film: “It’s a funny movie, and it’s got penguins. You know how popular penguins are," he told THR. Perhaps penguins are going out of fashion, as Popper lost out the number two slot to holdover Super 8, and came in third. Or maybe penguins aren't the problem; the movie had below average reviews, and as one critic asked: "Why is Jim Carrey standing around watching penguins be funny? Why isn't he in a movie where Jim Carrey is funny?"
In positive, or at least lukewarm, news, a couple of limited release films didn't fare so badly this weekend. Andrew Rossi's Page One: Inside The New York Times averaged $16,500 per screen, Indiewire reports. The documentary was bolstered by generally strong reviews, except for the review from the Times itself, which called the film a "mess." Another limited release opener, Sundance Selects' Buck, also pulled in a very similar $16,100 average.
Dragging down the bottom. Back to the bad news! Fox Searchlight suffered an extreme and unusual misfire with romantic comedy The Art of Getting By, starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts. According to Indiewire, the movie opened on an "ambitious" 610 theaters, but bombed by grossing only $700,000, for a dismal per location average of $1,148. Indiewire suggested it "could be considered the first victim of the excessive buying spree" at Sundance this year. But it's also worth pointing out that, whatever hopes there were for the film, its reviews so far are embarrassing. The Washington Post reviewed that "for anyone not in a similar state of age-related solipsism - i.e., anyone outside the 16- to 25-year-old age bracket - this is more than a little annoying."
In sum, the various disappointments at the box office combined to create an overall, general disappointment for the weekend: THR reports that overall domestic box office revenues were down "a sobering 24 percent" from last year.