03/03/2013 12:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Weekend Box Office Part I: Fee Fi Fo Flop: Jack the Giant Slayer Bombs Harder Than John Carter

Pretty much everything I said last March about John Carter applies to Jack the Giant Slayer.  There are a few differences.  Jack and the Beanstalk is technically a well-known property and Bryan Singer had the live-action track record that Andrew Stanton did not.  But otherwise it is pretty much the same fallacy with pretty much the same result: $200 million cost plus who knows how much in marketing for $27.9 million on opening weekend.  No stars, source material no one really cared to see onscreen, marketing that didn't convince them that they should, a release date that put them within one week of a likely juggernaut, and mixed reviews.  Like John Carter and Battleship, Jack the Giant Slayer was basically a $200 million variation on Generic Blockbuster: The Movie.  Unlike Disney and Universal respectively, Warner Bros. seemed to see this one coming well in advance.  They changed the release date from June 2012 to this weekend and changed the title from Jack the Giant Killer to 'appeal to families.'  Yet they still spent $200 million on a would-be family film that I can't take my daughter to because it's PG-13 and (allegedly) features slightly toned down Lord of the Rings type violence. To be fair, some of that $200 million cost was due to reshoots and the date change, but why bother?  Warner spent untold extra millions to get the exact same terrible result they got this weekend.  And really the film's cost is as usual the prime offender.

The picture actually went up around 60% on Saturday from $7.7 million on Friday to $12 million on Saturday, and then earned another $8 million on Sunday showing that the film did play best as a film for kids somewhat older than mine.  Had the film cost just, I dunno, $100 million, a $27.9 million opening, a B+ Cinemascore, and a pretty strong 3.6x weekend multiplier would be a pretty solid start for a film with strong international appeal.  But once Warner Bros. made the same mistake as Disney and Universal, spending $200 million plus marketing on a film that had no plausible reason to make its money back let alone make a profit.  This is a lower debut than the $30 million earned by John Carter but higher than the $25 million debuts of Battleship and Total Recall (saved only by the fact that Sony spent just $125 million on the $198 million-ww grosser). As such, we're probably looking at a finish between $61 million and $69 million. The above examples would imply that Jack the Giant Slayer would earn $150-$200 million overseas, but there is always a chance that it'll be ignored overseas ala Warner's Green Lantern two years ago. By the way, Green Lantern, which earned just $219 million on a $200 million budget, is actually a bigger flop than any of these allegedly legendary stinkers.  Point being, Jack the Giant Slayer is DOA for reasons that should have caused the film to either not be greenlit or kept the budget under $120 million. It was far too expensive considering everything that it lacked, and it's going to get hammered next weekend even if Oz: The Great and Powerful (which at least has a liked brand and actual movie stars) doesn't open mega-huge. Lesson likely not learned.

For those who want the rest of the box office rundown for the weekend, go HERE for Part II.