Martin Luther King weekend was unable to break the downward spiral as we suffer through a down streak at the box office that has lasted for ten straight weeks.
That said, the unlikeliest of super heroes topped the chart with a solid $34 million as Seth Rogen stars in Sony/Screen Gem’s big screen version of The Green Hornet. The original TV series ran just one season from 1966 to 1967 and starred Van Williams as Britt Reid (aka The Green Hornet) and famously Bruce Lee as his sidekick Kato. In this 2011 update the ironic yet effective casting of comedy star Seth Rogen in the title role will draw audiences looking for a decidedly tongue-in-cheek action movie experience. Cameron Diaz and Inglourious Basterds star Christoph Waltz round out a cast which also includes Jay Chou as the butt-kicking Kato. Notably, the film is directed by indie-auteur Michel Gondry who helmed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and other offbeat films. A great marketing campaign and a release date that took advantage of the less competitive early January marketplace enabled “The Green Hornet” to crack the $30 million mark.
Check out our exclusive ‘The Green Hornet’ themed comic strip from Francesco Marciuliano. Francesco writes the internationally-syndicated comic strip “Sally Forth” and the webcomic “Medium Large.” He was the head writer for the PBS series “SeeMore’s Playhouse,” for which one of his episodes won two 2007 Daytime Emmys. He currently writes for the Onion News Network.
Of course one dynamic duo deserves another and Vince Vaughn and Kevin James deliver the comedy in Universal’s The Dilemma in which the discovery of a wife’s infidelity leaves one of the buddies with the dilemma of how to tell his best friend. A strong cast that includes Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum and Queen Latifah, The Dilemma is the 21st feature film directed by Ron Howard whose first film was 1977’s “Grand Theft Auto.” The film grabbed the date crowd and audiences looking for a new comedy to enjoy this weekend and therefore earned a second place finish with $17.4 million.
The third, fourth and fifth spots were filled by films that have bridged the gap between critical and commercial success with the Coen Brothers’ True Grit fast becoming one of the highest grossing westerns of all-time and landing in third with $11.2 million and a cumulative gross of $126.4 million.
Fourth place goes to Weinstein Co.’s The King’s Speech as it continues its reign as an audience and critic’s favorite. Another $9.1 million in the royal dowry brings the Colin Firth starring period drama to $45 million in domestic box office.
In fifth place is the irrepressible Black Swan which has taken the ballet-themed film to new box office heights. The Darren Aronofsky film starring Oscar-nom shoe-in Natalie Portman earned $8.1 million (which represents a 0% weekend over weekend drop) as word-of-mouth is propelling the film toward a $100 million plus gross.
A solid if not spectacular Martin Luther King Weekend as the industry prepares to watch The Golden Globes and see what might be in store for the Oscars yet to come.
Weekend Box Office
Top 10 Movies – For Weekend of January 14, 2011 – Estimates
Movie Weekend Total
1 The Green Hornet (PG-13) $34.0 M $34.0 M
2 The Dilemma (PG-13) $17.4 M $17.4 M
3 True Grit (PG-13) $11.2 M $126.4 M
4 The King’s Speech (R) $9.1 M $44.6 M
5 Black Swan (R) $8.1 M $73.0 M
6 Little Fockers (PG-13) $7.1 M $134.2 M
7 Tron: Legacy (PG) $5.7 M $156.9 M
8 Yogi Bear (PG) $5.3 M $82.1 M
9 The Fighter (R) $5.1 M $65.8 M
10 Season of the Witch (PG-13) $4.5 M $18.0 M