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Five preternatural films earn big at the box-office

In Film, vox populi on 27 June, 2011 at 7:31 am

In the battle to save the Earth, pagan deities are losing.  Earth’s newest savior, Green Lantern has taken over the box-office and was the highest earning preternatural film of the weekend for the second weekend in a row even though it ranked third overall. Thor didn’t even make the list of top earners.

In fact, there were no new preternatural films topping the box office this past weekend, although five films did make Rentrak Corp.’s list of top-earners. Maybe more if you count talking animated Cars and spiritual quests. Fortunately, the preternatural (zombies, aliens, mutants and animated animals with wicked martial arts skills) was well-represented and we didn’t have to!

Test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) faces the greatest challenge of his career and life when he becomes the first human recruited to the Green Lantern Corps. Now this cocky and confident must prove he can master the power of the ring and restore the balance of power to the Universe as The Green Lantern. Oh, yeah, and along the way he gets to save the Earth, if he can…. Director Martin Campbell is responsible for bringing the popular DC Comics hero and other characters to the big screen for the first time. The Warner Bros. film brought in more than $18 million over the weekend of 24-26 June, 2011, making it the third highest earner of the weekend overall.

Super 8 slipped to the Number 4 spot overall bringing in an estimated $12 million for Paramount. The story of a group of young friends – Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning, sibling of Dakota Fanning), Joe Lamb (newcomer Joel Courtney), Cary (Ryan Lee), Preston (Zach Mills), Charles (Riley Griffiths) and Martin (Gabriel Basso) – who begin investigating strange happenings around their small town after a mysterious train wreck. Produced by Steven Spielberg and written and directed by J.J. Abrams, Super 8 has been, almost inevitably compared to E.T. Despite some superficial similarities (a young cast and aliens), Super 8 is a very different and darker film. 

X-Men: First Class dropped to Number 6 this weekend. The mutants still earned more than $6 million for 20th Century Fox. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, the voice of Gnomeo in Gnomeo and Juliet) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) are still battling for the minds and powers of the 1962 generation of mutants. In an interesting twist, X-Men: First Class includes the biblical mutant Azazel (Jason Flemyng, whom some will recognize as Danny Quinn from the television series Primeval) who seems drawn from the same legend as Azazeal (played by Michael Fassbender in the BBC television series Hex). X-Men: First Class was produced by Bad Hat Harry Productions and directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Amazingly Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides remains among the overall earners of the weekend. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) adding another $4.7 million to the film’s overall box-office earnings of $229,060,301 for Disney in this preternatural treasure hunt based on the novel On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers. Director Rob Marshall assembled quite the motley crew including Geoffrey Rush (who also lent his voice to The Green Lantern) as Barbossa, Ian McShane (the voice of Captain Hook in Shrek The Third) as Blackbeard and Richard Griffiths (Harry’s Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter franchise) as King George.

Po and his new group of kung-fu masters took a tumble last weekend. Kung Fu Panda 2 dropped 5 places overall from Number 6 to Number 11. The animated sequel from director Jennifer Yuh generated more than $4 million at the box office with a star-studded cast of voices including Gary Oldman (Dracula, Sirius Black, The Fifth Element) and Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) join Po (Jack Black) in bringing this animated adventure to life.

Makes you wonder what the Long-Haired Hare, the short that introduced the world to Bugs Bunny,  would have earned over its opening weekend had it premiered in 2011 rather than 1949…

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