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'Karate Kid' is Hollywood's first welcome surprise of summer

Karate2 For the first time since summer movie season started, Hollywood got some good news it didn't expect.

"The Karate Kid" was not only a major hit in its own right, but it also came in $20 million above the highest expectations based on pre-release tracking.

(For more on the opening of "The Karate Kid" and "The A-Team," see our initial box office post.)

Since the first weekend of May, the start of the four-month period during which movies studios release many of their biggest films and collect 40% of the year's box office, there has been one big -- as expected -- hit ("Iron Man 2") and a string of disappointments or flops, such as "Robin Hood," "Shrek Forever After," "Prince of Persia" and "Sex and the City 2." Total summer box-office receipts were down 4%, and attendance was down 10%.

This weekend's success wasn't nearly enough to close that gap, particularly given the soft start for "The A-Team." But total ticket sales were up 11% from the same weekend a year ago, according to Hollywood.com, and the gap between summer 2009 and summer 2010 has shrunk to 3.4%, with attendance now down 9.3%.

If pre-release tracking is any indication -- and it hasn't always been in 2010 -- next weekend should shrink that gap further with the debut of "Toy Story 3," which is expected to have a huge opening. It could be the first movie from Pixar Animation Studios to open to more than $100 million.

In limited release, the documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" and "Winter's Bone," the Sundance grand jury prize winner, both had solid starts, opening to $171,500 at seven theaters and $87,000 at four theaters, respectively. Both movies played at two theaters in Los Angeles.

Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:

1. "The Karate Kid" (Sony): Opened to $56 million.

2. "The A-Team" (Fox/Dune): Opened to $26 million. $15 million in 35 foreign markets.

3. "Shrek Forever After" (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount): $15.8 million, down 38% on its fourth weekend. $4.3 million overseas in 19 foreign markets. Domestic total: $210.1 million. International total: $74.3 million.

4. "Get Him to the Greek" (Universal/Relativity/Spyglass): $10.1 million on its second weekend, down 43%. Domestic total: $36.5 million.

5. "Killers" (Lionsgate): $8.2 million, down 48% on its second weekend. Domestic total: $30.7 million.

6. "Prince of Persia" (Disney): $6.6 million on its third weekend, down 53%. $19.7 million overseas in 48 foreign markets. Domestic total: $72.3 million. International total: $190.3 million.

7. "Marmaduke" (Fox/New Regency): $6 million on its second weekend, down 48%. $2.2 million in 21 foreign markets. Domestic total: $22.3 million. International total: $8.4 million.

8. "Sex and the City 2" (Warner Bros./New Line/Village Roadshow): $5.5 million on its third weekend, down 55%. $23.7 million in 56 foreign markets. Domestic total: $84.7 million. International total: $131.7 million.

9. "Iron Man 2" (Marvel/Paramount): $4.6 million on its sixth weekend, down 43%. $5.3 million in 62 foreign markets. Domestic total: $299.3 million. International total $295 million.

10. "Splice" (Dark Castle/Warner Bros.): $2.9 million on its second weekend, down 61%. Domestic total: $13.1 million.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith in "The Karate Kid." Credit: Jasin Boland / Sony Pictures

Comments () | Archives (3)

Sony Studios should have changed the title in the Smith-Chan action-drama vehicle into "The Kung Fu Kid" as the action speaks louder by itself. Karate is a Japanese martial art, but the film is set in China with a different fighting technique.

I would retitle the article to say 'Karate Kid' is Hollywood's first demise of the summer. The line-up of movies for this summer stinks. The studios deserve to lose thier asses.

The only surprise about this movie can only be that it is so terrible.

It is a ripoff, or a remake as many would call it, of the original. Sure, there are differences (shot in China, names changed, hair styles, Kung Fu instead of Karate) but otherwise it is a carbon copy. And anyone understanding copying, knows that each version gets degraded.

The acting is second-rate for the most part, the movie is way too long, and it can easily be deemed too violent since the punches in this version are full-contact and often repeated to the point of R.

I would love to see Jaden Smith face Ralph Maccio in an audition, without the influence of anyone's Mommy- and Daddy-cash. My popcorn money would be on Ralph.

Summer is looking like a dud. And I am left to wonder, are there any original thinkers out there in Hollywood that can end this remake illness?


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