By Ryan Parsons | Image property of Lionsgate, Variety
The Forbidden Kingdom
'Apatow comedy' is no longer means box office guarantee. Don't get me wrong, the films still do very well, but this weekend went to a non-Apatow The Forbidden Kingdom.
The Forbidden Kingdom Takes the Weekend Box Office
The Jet Li-Jackie Chan actioner, The Forbidden Kingdom, was this weekend's black er, belt at the box office by grossing a surprising $20.9 million. Owing credit to the film's audience-friendly PG-13 and the Jackie Chan/Jet Li matchup, Kingdom was able to beat out the expected number one, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
“It was a stroke of genius to pair Jackie Chan and Jet Li,” said Lionsgate prexy of distribution Steve Rothenberg. “Those are exactly the numbers we were striving for. We wanted to get the older martial arts crowd, but we also wanted the teenagers.”
Though sporting the popular Hard-R rating, the Apatow seal of approval, and a huge marketing campaign, Sarah Marshall was only able to gross $17.3 million during its opening bow. The number fell short of Apatow's Superbad ($33 million), Knocked Up ($30.7 million) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($21.4 million). Though there could be a troubling trend forming against Apatow, he has to at least be stoked that the film did way better than both Drillbit Taylor ($10.3 million) and Walk Hard ($4.2 million).
With The Forbidden Kingdom and Forgetting Sarah Marshall leading the box office, this weekend felt a much-needed boost on what has been considered a sluggish April box office; which has been consistently lower than the same frames in 2007. This weekend, however, saw a 9.1% gain over the same frame last year. It wasn't too hard really, as last year we had only Disturbia ($13 million) and Fracture ($11 million) to go see.
Though Sarah Marshall came in at #2, Universal Pictures is still happy with the outcome. Considering that the film only cost $30 million to produce, positive returns are expected shortly.
“I think this is a great result, considering how bad the market has been,” said Universal prexy of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco. “Comedy works, and I think people know the Judd Apatow brand, and his films always have a great multiple. This is in that category.”