'Shrek' kicks off the sure-to-be successful summer kid flick biz

shrek-smilesImage Credit: DreamworksIt’s summertime (at least at the box office) and Shrek Forever After kicks off the season’s animated kid flicks. With the Shrek series having grossed over $1 billion domestically, the fourth, and likely final, installment in the popular series is destined to be one of the top-grossing films this summer season. How high it opens is another question. It will be buoyed by the 3-D component, but a little bloom may have worn off this rose considering it’s been three years since we’ve had the green ogre in our theaters. Not to mention that the last two weren’t nearly as beloved critically as the original.

R-rated comedy MacGruber has the inauspicious task of going up against Shrek. The film — financed by Relativity Media, produced by Rogue, and released by Universal Pictures (that’s a mouthful) — is unlikely to light any fires at the box office despite the popularity of the Saturday Night Live character on the sketch comedy show. Read on for my predictions.

1. Shrek Forever After: $105 million

The first Shrek bowed to $42 million in 2001, while Shrek 2 opened to $108 million in 2004 and Shrek 3 grossed $121 million in 2007. Even with spotty reviews, inflation alone will propel this fourth iteration into $100 million plus territory. How high it gets is really a matter of how hungry audiences are for the top-notch voice cast of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas that have made the series so successful.

2. Iron Man 2: $26 million

The PG-13 rated actioner has already grossed $218 million stateside. Not bad for a film that’s not nearly as good as the original. After dropping 60 percent last weekend, the movie is likely to fall another 50 percent this frame. Whether it will hit the original’s domestic take of $318 million all depends on how it handles the stiff competition about to come its way.

3. Robin Hood: $18 million

With its revised gross from last weekend standing at $36 million and a B- from exit pollster Cinemascore, it is likely Robin Hood is headed for at least a 50 percent fall. It’s still earning impressive dollars overseas, but Universal will be lucky if they can collect more than $125 million from audience members on this side of the pond.

4. MacGruber: $8 million

This spy spoof looks a lot more like A Night at the Roxbury than Wayne’s World. Saturday Night Live has always been hit or miss when its wacky characters transfer to the big screen. It’s unlikely that Will Forte’s take on the MacGyver franchise has enough to sustain itself through an entire film. The studio hasn’t screened the film in advance for critics (never a good sign), so Relativity Media and producer Lorne Michaels should be happy campers if they can eke pass the $10 million mark.

5. Letters to Juliet: $7 million

The film’s a crowd-pleaser, so while it only grossed $13.8 million opening weekend, if word-of-mouth spreads, there’s a chance it can hold in for a better than 50 percent drop its second weekend in theaters. And it better do so fast. This is its only chance to shine before Sex and the City 2 drowns out this sweet romance.

Check back this weekend for updates on the box office.

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  • Molly

    I think that MacGruber will do much better than you predict….

    • Bobby

      I second that,I think it looks hilarious.

      • nicescss

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      • Tom Strong

        Nicole Sperling is a joke.

    • e4ia

      Rolling Stone magazine gave MacGruber 3 out of 4 stars. Said it was very funny and entertaining.

      • Boof

        Rolling Stone liked it? Pete Travers from Rolling Stone likes every movie he sees. Not much of a reason to see a movie.

    • LOL

      Shrek can suck it! It’s time for MacGruber!

  • Lynn

    Some advance reviews for MacGruber have said (somewhat surprisingly) that it’s actualy VERY good and funny. It might surprise you.

  • Kyle

    MacGruber on Rotten Tomatoes has a 89%

    • phantom

      Word.

    • Jason

      That was when there were only 9 fanboy reviews. It is at 57% now.

  • Jose

    MacGruber FTW!
    I cannot wait for this movie and hope that with the inflated ticket prices Shrek 4 does no more than $110 million, unlikely though since (surprise!) people actually want to see it. MacGruber please make at least $15-$20 million.

  • Diva

    I remember when the first Shrek came out I was 10 and now this one is coming out and I’m almost 20. I think Shrek needs to go it’s been milking this ride for way too long. And for the record the 1st and 2nd Shrek were amazing the third I wish I could get my money back and this one. I think I’m just too lod to see it. It doesn’t seem like a solid story line anyway.

    • Ravvie

      Same here, though goodness knows I’m going to get dragged into seeing it because of my brother. Curses!

  • Woot

    Clearly the film (Macgruber) has been screened in advance for critics since it multiple publications have already released their reviews of it. Most of them have been somewhat positive.

  • Fatima

    So far I’ve heard almost nothing but good stuff about MacGruber. Weird that this article has a bit of an ax to grind with it.

  • David

    Pixar films are cinematic gold and modern classics! Dreamworks flicks and Ice Age sequels are pure pop trash!! bwahahahaha!!

    • Jose

      David, I used to believe that and then How To Train Your Dragon proved me wrong.

      • Woot

        How To Train Your Dragon was great! but still it was far away from Finding Nemo or Wall-e.

    • m.

      Three out of four Pixar upcoming movies are sequels. Toy Story 3 looks great, but sequel for Cars (the weakest of the Pixar movies)?! I know that Cars sold a lot of toys (making it most profitable for Disney), but i don’t have much hope for sequel for a movie that wasn’t very good in the first place.

      • Katja

        Blasphemy! I liked Cars a LOT. I don’t understand why so many people seem to dislike it…it’s tremendously cute! But then again, after all the hype about Wall-E I’d heard, I saw it and wasn’t as impressed with it as everyone else in the world was. So I probably have terrible taste or something. :)

      • anonymous

        You’d think they would do a sequel to The Incredibles before doing one for Cars.

  • Mike

    The first two Shreks were awesome, it’s Shrek the Turd that thoroughly tarnished the series. I’ll wait for Toy Story 3, thanks.

    • JKH

      Agreed! Can’t wait for Buzz, Woody, & Co. next month.

  • Flo-Rida

    I agree with those who think Nicole has under-estimated how well “MacGruber” will do. I’m not saying it’s going to be a blockbuster, but there is a definite “buzz” around this SNL movie that previous SNL efforts haven’t had. I think EW is tone-deaf on how well this one will play.

  • Flo-Rida

    For the record, I have heard NO buzz about Shrek at all and I am the father of three elementary school age boys. Neither they nor their friends have even mentioned it.

  • Zayne

    Iron Man 2 not nearly as good as the original? That pretty much blew credibility in my eyes. If I had to choose, I’d put Iron Man 2 just inches ahead of the first. Clearly there’s room for movement but not nearly as good is just plain false.

    • Wilson

      Almost every critic out there and a lot of the viewers agree with Iron Man 2 not being very good. I’m not saying it isn’t very good, but it’s the general consensus that the first was much better.

      • Wilson

        *Not being as good as the original. Bleh, wording. lol

      • no

        So critics and a few people online speak for you? Sorry I found it better than the first which was over rated

      • Fatima

        Then why can’t the author speak for herself about her thoughts on the sequel then?

  • Joel Armstrong

    I’m not sure how good “Macgruber” will be. But I am surprised that the people who have commented on this know more about it’s potential than a writer for a film magazine. Maybe she’s just going by the skits on tv. I watched them on “betty white night” and thought the macgruber skits were the weakest. But maybe they’ll transfer nicely to the big screen. This is not the first time that EW has made erroneous box office claims. A few years ago they posted the summer box office predictions and they put iron man and prince caspian in the #1 and #2 spot and put Dark Knight down at #6. I remember thinking at the time that was a poor judgement. Did they really think a batman/joker movie wouldn’t draw more interest? And Prince Caspian at #2? The only reason the first one did well was because of the name recognition. Once they moved on to the less popular books the series won’t continue. Although i guess they’re trying again with “Dawn Treader.’

    • Jason

      Yeah, they did the same in the summer of 2006 when they expected Superman Returns to rule the summer and Pirates 2 to make less than the original.

  • anonymous

    MacGruber’s early reviews have been okay. Not great but its not getting panned and it seems to be getting decent publicity. It could perform better than expected.

  • meso Soup

    When you talk about a movie’s Gross in North America please don’t be so ignorant in saying “grossed $218 million stateside” – North America is made up of more than the US. It’s a fact!

    • Kat

      I assumed she was talking about the domestic gross, meaning the money that came just from Americans seeing an American movie (as described by this American publication) vs. international gross. (Also, I don’t mean all that “American” emphasis to indicate that I’m some global-hating American – just to emphasize that that’s why we talk about domestic gross vs. international – because it’s relevant to the publication and the movie studios and the readers and so on. Surely all those fantastic British movies measure a UK gross separately from an international gross? It’s just an interesting statistic.) Anyways, in that sense, “stateside” makes perfect sense. I didn’t think she was talking about North American gross. We all know the US is not the only country in North America, so I think maybe you’re reading too much into this. Or maybe I’m ignorant of the way box office money is counted. In that case, my apologies. But I always assumed that when an American publication or critic or whoever discusses domestic (aka “stateside”) gross, they’re just referring to money made in the United States. I assumed that was different from when they use the phrase “North American box office gross”. Is that not correct?

    • Rude

      Canada is just the USA’s hat. USA! USA!

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