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Box office report: 'After Earth' crashes, marks Will Smith's worst summer opening in 20 years

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Ever since Independence Day‘s $50.2 million debut on July 4th weekend in 1996, Will Smith has been the undisputed king of the summer box office. He’s led films like Men In Black; Bad Boys II; I, Robot; and Hancock to massive grosses — both domestically and around the world.

But his latest effort, After Earth, landed with a major thud on opening weekend, grossing just $27 million (distributor Sony told outlets it was expecting $35 million before the weekend) and opening in third place with a tepid “B” CinemaScore. The $130 million M. Night Shyamalan-directed sci-fi film, based on an original story idea by Will Smith himself, also starred the A-lister’s son, Jaden. The father/son duo previously found success with 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness, which earned $163.6 million, but this time around, the casting gimmick wasn’t enough to get audiences into the door.

After Earth‘s opening weekend was Smith’s lowest summer debut since his first wide release, Made In America, which bowed with $11.8 million in 1993. Discouragingly, After Earth opened with even less than Smith’s oft-ridiculed Wild Wild West, which wrangled $27.8 million in its opening weekend in 1999.

So what went wrong? Well, M. Night Shyamalan’s name certainly repelled many potential viewers. The director has lost credibility with audiences after films like Lady In The Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender, and Sony wisely kept his name out of all marketing materials. Still, film buffs (and anyone that read the scathing reviews) weren’t fooled. The blame can’t lie solely with the director, though, especially at a time when people seem to feel little affection for the Smith family. Between accusations of Hollywood nepotism, backlash against eyebrow-raising interviews, and lingering suspicions about their involvement with Scientology, Will, Jaden, and the rest of the gang seem to be in a bit of a public opinion rut.

Whatever the reason for After Earth‘s domestic under-performance, Sony is hoping that international grosses can make up lost ground. And that certainly could happen since Will Smith’s film’s often gross more overseas than they do in America. Last year, Men In Black 3 took in $179 million domestically and $445 million internationally, and time will tell whether After Earth enjoys a similar fate.

But there were other movies at the box office this weekend, too. Let’s talk about those! READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'After Earth' trumped by 'Now You See Me' as 'Fast & Furious' wins Friday (again)

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Will and Jaden Smith may want to pick up some new Cartier before they take a look at this week’s box office numbers. It might help to ease the pain.

The father/son duo’s new M. Night Shyamalan-directed adventure After Earth only earned $9.8 million on its opening Friday (technically, that number includes Thursday night shows as well), which puts it on pace for a weekend of just $27 million — a tough result considering the poorly reviewed Sony effort cost $130 million and carried Will Smith-sized expectations.

Moreover, After Earth was overshadowed by Summit’s magician thriller Now You See Me, which worked up some box office magic on Friday, pulling an impressive $10.1 million out of its hat. Now You See Me will also end the weekend with about $27 million, which sounds a whole lot healthier given its $80 million budget.

Of course, neither of the newcomers were able to topple Fast & Furious 6 from the top of the chart. The explosive hit scored $10.5 million on its second Friday and should finish the weekend in first place with about $35 million and $170 million total.

Rounding out the Top 5 was The Hangover Part III, which dropped 64 percent from its first Friday to $5.2 million, and Star Trek Into Darkness, which beamed up another $4.4 million. Both films should finish the weekend with over $15 million — a figure that Epic, which came in sixth place with $4.1 million, will likely reach as well.

1. Fast & Furious 6 – $10.5 million
2. Now You See Me – $10.1 million
3. After Earth – $9.8 million
4. The Hangover Part III – $5.2 million
5. Star Trek Into Darkness – $4.4 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, and follow me on Twitter for more up-to-the-minute box office updates.

Read more:
Analysis: People love ‘Fast & Furious 6′, but not as much as they loved ‘Fast Five’
Box office preview: ‘After Earth’ ready to race ‘Fast & Furious’ for the top spot

Box office preview: 'After Earth' ready to race 'Fast & Furious 6' for the top spot

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Hey box office nerds, I’m back! What have I missed? Oh, just the highest grossing Memorial Day weekend in history? Well, it’s not like I was irrationally excited about the Fast & Furious 6 vs. The Hangover Part III showdown or anything…

But the box office waits for no one. It’s a new weekend with new releases — namely, the Will/Jaden Smith adventure After Earth and the magician thriller Now You See Me — and the former has a shot at taking out Fast & Furious 6 as the number one movie in America. (Meanwhile, The Hangover Part III seems likely to plummet out of the Top 5 altogether.)

Here’s how the frame may play out: READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Fast & Furious 6' breaks $100 million, 'Hangover III' sobers up on record-breaking weekend

Here’s what the Memorial Day weekend taught us: America really likes the Fast & Furious franchise, but America loves movies. The four-day holiday racked up $314 million in receipts, the largest-ever Memorial Day weekend at the box office. As for Fast 6, it’s hard to talk about the successful opening without resorting to cliché. Despite hitting theaters in a crowded May marketplace, the Universal film earned an estimated $120,019,000, the fourth-highest Memorial Day opening in history, for a per-theater average of $33,400. That’s the second-biggest opening this year, behind Iron Man 3, and a sizable leap from the trajectory of the previous two Fasts (and most predictions).

READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Fast & Furious 6' revs up

Who knew we all loved fast cars that much? Fast & Furious 6, the latest entry in the super-speed action series, earned an estimated $98,528,000 for the three-day weekend. It may be on track for a four-day opening gross north of $120 million. This beats the opening of Fast 5 ($86 million), though it’s roughly the same margin of growth if you don’t count the holiday. (Fast & Furious opened with $70 million.)

READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: How fast will 'Fast & Furious 6' make $100 million?

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This weekend is the summer’s biggest box office head-to-head, with both The Hangover Part III and Fast & Furious 6 opening. Well, technically Hangover is opening on Thursday. (And we can’t forget about Epic!) Both films come out of multi-multi-million dollar franchises; both cost multi-multi millions to make. And both have a really good chance of making more than $200 million at the box office. But now that the actual weekend has arrived, it’s safe to say that one will emerge the clear winner…and it’s going to be Fast 6.

Here’s how the box office may play this weekend:

READ FULL STORY

'Hangover Part III' trailer: Chow -- ironically -- is into cock-fighting -- VIDEO

“When we get together, bad things happen and people get hurt…” “Yeah, that’s the point. It’s funny.”

The Wolfpack will run wild again on May 24 when The Hangover Part III arrives in theaters. We’ve known for some time that Alan (Zach Galifianakis) might need some psychological attention, especially following the death of his father. The new trailer finally explains the hows and whys that send the guys — minus Doug, who’s kidnapped! — south of the border in pursuit of the maniacal Chow (Ken Jeong), who happened to steal $21 million from a royally pissed off John Goodman. It could be worse: Think how bad it would’ve been for the guys if they crossed Goodman’s baddie on Shabbos!

Watch the clip below. But beware, chickens are the new tigers. READ FULL STORY

'The Hangover Part III': New poster spoofs 'Harry Potter'

Remember the old days, when most bigscreen movie sagas ended after three movies? The Trilogy era came to an end sometime in the late-2000s, when Hollywood noticed that the Harry Potter franchise was still making kabillions of dollars in its later installations, and therefore decided that every franchise could feasibly run on forever, with occasional pitstops to reboot the cast or sprinkle in some Wahlberg. But Todd Phillips long ago declared that The Hangover Part III would be the concluding chapter of the Wolfpack’s journey through the dark side of the American dream, or whatever this series is supposed to be about. The new poster for Part III makes that explicit, with an image that purposefully resembles the poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–Part 2. Check out the Hangover poster below: READ FULL STORY

Bradley Cooper dismisses Lance Armstrong role rumors

Slow down, everyone. Bradley Cooper may not be getting on a bike just yet.

Last week, he told BBC News that he was interested in playing disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong if a movie version of his life comes to fruition. Now, the Silver Linings Playbook star has explained to Access Hollywood that he was amused by the subsequent chatter, but there’s no truth to it. “Oh my god, that’s so nuts!” he said. “I was in Manchester, doing the BBC morning show… I had no idea what [the interviewer] was talking about. I didn’t even know that J.J. [Abrams] has the rights, I had no idea. I don’t know anything about it.”

READ FULL STORY

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