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Box Office: ‘King Arthur’ Stumbles With $1.2 Million on Thursday

Variety logo Variety 5/12/2017 Brent Lang
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All hail the king?

Warner Bros.’ pricey “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” looks like the summer movie season’s first big flop. The medieval epic, with Charlie Hunnam and Guy Ritchie putting a bro-y twist on the oft-told tale of knights and their ladies fair, eked out $1.2 million in Thursday night pre-shows. That’s a weak showing for a film with a $175 million production budget. That doesn’t even take into account the tens of millions spent to market and distribute the action-adventure. Analysts expect the movie will earn $25 million this weekend. The studio will need foreign audiences to turn out in force if it wants to avoid a sea of red ink. It has been buoyed by the response so far in overseas markets like Indonesia. Village Roadshow and RatPac-Dune helped finance the picture.

Fox’s “Snatched” is also opening this weekend, earning $650,000. Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer star in the comedy as a mother-and-daughter whose vacation ends in a kidnapping. The R-rated comedy cost $42 million to produce, and is expected to earn between $15 million to $17 million in its inaugural weekend. “Snatched” marks Hawn’s return to the big screen after a 15-year hiatus.

Ritchie scored with 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes” ($209 million domestic and $524 million worldwide) and its 2011 sequel, “A Game of Shadows” ($187 million and $545 million). But his stylish spy thriller, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” flopped when it debuted in 2015, losing an estimated $80 million. He’ll try to recapture his box office mojo with a live-action remake of Disney’s “Aladdin.” “King Arthur” did do better than “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in terms of its Thursday pre-shows — that film earned $900,000 en route to a $13.4 million debut.

Neither “Snatched” nor “King Arthur” scored with critics. In Variety, Peter Debruge dismissed Ritchie’s latest as “a loud, obnoxious parade of flashy set pieces,” while Owen Gleiberman said Schumer’s new comedy “earns too few laughs.”

With very little competition, Disney and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is widely expected to retain first place with roughly $60 million. The comic book adaptation has already earned more than $500 million globally.

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