Green Lantern is the second superhero movie in a row to perform disappointingly in its opening weekend, after X-Men: First Class. If Captain America also stumbles, we could look back on this as the summer that superheroes lost their invulnerability.
According to the New York Times, Warner Bros. spent $200 million to make Lantern, and another $100 million to market it. And the $53 million in opening weekend box office receipts — lower than the disappointing take for the cheaper X-Men movie — is a bit of a letdown. (And it's interesting that only about 45 percent of ticket sales came from 3D — a similar figure is being reported for the new Harry Potter movie. Audiences may finally be getting wise to the pointlessess of most 3D conversions.)
Although of course, Lantern may still make a decent amount of money overseas, and Warners' president of domestic distribution, Dan Fellman, puts a brave face on it:
Kids are out of school and the coming days represent a very good opportunity for us.
With Cars 2 coming out this weekend, and Transformers 3 coming the following Wednesday, it seems unlikely that Green Lantern will get much more of a moment in the sun.
Check out where Green Lantern film falls in Box Office Mojo's chart of superhero opening weekends (not inflation adjusted).
Matthew Vaughn, director of X-Men: First Class, famously said that the superhero genre was going to be dying out soon, and that's why he was eager to direct the X-Men movie before it was too late. Last August, Vaughn told Hero Complex:
It's been mined to death and in some cases the quality control is not what it's supposed to be. People are just going to get bored of it... I've always wanted to do a big-budget superhero film and I think we've kind of crossed the Rubicon with superhero films. I think [the opportunity to do one], it's only going to be there two or three more times... Then the genre is going to be dead for a while because the audience has just been pummeled too much.
It would be a fascinating irony if Vaughn's own big-budget superhero movie was the one that heralded the trend he himself predicted.