Watchmen underperforms at box office

“Watchmen,” the movie adaptation of a classic cult comic, dominated this weekend’s box office receipts, taking in $55 million, according to Derrick J. Lang of the Associated Press.

Buzz for the flick has been building for well over a year, with “Entertainment Weekly” featuring a “who are the Watchmen”-style awhile back.

Last week, “Watchmen” stories were everywhere on the Web. Upon its release Friday, /Film posted a “what did you think” article. It has 500 comments and counting.

Yet, it appears “Watchmen” is not going to be a “Dark Knight”-like hit — or even close.

“Watchmen” was released during a weekend when there was absolutely nothing else to see. Perhaps the studios cleared their plates to avoid competing with the “Watchmen” juggernaut.

Yet “Watchmen,” which was supposed to officially kick off the summer movie-going season, took in less money this weekend than “300,” the goofy, vastly overrated 2007 flick from Zack Snyder, who also directed “Watchmen.”

In the AP article, Warner Bros. execs say that “Watchmen’s” almost three-hour running time is a stumbling block.

“They’re two different movies,” Fellman said Sunday. “This is a movie that runs two hours and 45 minutes. That really only leaves the exhibitor with one showing a night. If you have an 8 o’clock show, the next show is at midnight. So with essentially one show a night, I think this is outstanding.”

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VLA0tg5yI0%5D

But three-hour running times did not keep the masses away from “The Dark Knight,” or two little movies called “The Godfather” and “The Godfather, Part II.”

Also keep in mind that, despite the Great Recession, people are escaping into movies — just not “Watchmen.”

Again, from the AP:

For the year, movie attendance continues to soar, with revenue at $1.9 billion, up 16 percent through the same point in 2008. Even factoring in 2009’s higher ticket prices, movie attendance is running 14 percent higher than last year.

From /Film via Twitter:

“Expectations are created by the industry, studios and media, Watchmen underwhelmed them all.” . . .”(It is) possible that Watchmen will finish its run with as little as $135M, the same range as Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($26m budget compared to $140 [million]).”

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