‘Green Hornet’ Knocks Out Box Office Competition

Monday, January 17, 2011
By Kevin Crossman
Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet

Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet

It’s the easy headline, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The Green Hornet topped the four day Martin Luther King Birthday weekend with a four-day haul of $40m, according to estimates. Depending on the final numbers, this will be the second or third largest opening on MLK weekend. The Seth Rogen project met expectations and maybe even exceeded them by a little.

The action-comedy was helmed by Michel Gondry who added his visual flair in several important scenes, and the film was helped a 3D format that added to the presentation, at least in my eyes. There definitely are plenty of “eye-popping scenes” in Hornet (that’s an inside joke for those of you have seen the film), but at its heart it is exactly what our reviewer said, it’s a “Superhero Superbad” that works best as a buddy picture.

The casting for the film worked well. Jay Chou is pitch-perfect as Kato, and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz proved he can play a different kind of bad guy very effectively. There’s even a funny cameo from one of Seth Rogen’s former costars (I won’t spoil the cameo, but it’s in the first two minutes of the film). Cameron Diaz is okay in an underwritten role as a secretary with an interest in crime, and if there was a sequel this character would have to be expanded. But, since Diaz wasn’t really used to “sell” the movie, I wonder if her salary was ultimately worth it. I think any number of actresses could have played the role just as well.

Things were not so rosy for Vince Vaughn, as The Dilemma opened at the bottom of expectations with just $20m over the holiday weekend. That’s far, far less than most of his recent comedies. As an adult-skewing film, one might hope the “hold” would be high as with recent films such as Couples Retreat. However, most adult moviegoers are interested in prestige films such as Black Swan and The King’s Speech.

In other box office news, Little Fockers had the largest drop in the top ten, but has crossed $135m domestically. The film is doing well overseas having taken in $111m already.  Meanwhile, Gulliver’s Travels still hasn’t cracked $40m domestically yet, though the film has done well overseas with $100m to date.

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