Early Box Office Figures: Scott Pilgrim Tanks vs. Expendables, Eat Pray Love

Early Box Office Figures: <i>Scott Pilgrim</i> Tanks vs. <i>Expendables</i>, <i>Eat Pray Love</i>

The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love off to strong starts; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World struggles to pace above $10 million for the weekend.

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By Alan Man

The action fans of the country have answered Lionsgate's "Call to Arms" and given The Expendables a comfortable early-weekend lead in the August 13-15 box office, but the buzz-worthy story is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's collapse out of the starting blocks, according to early estimates from Deadline Hollywood.

Despite Pilgrim's clever viral marketing, built-in comic book fanbase, and Xbox-meets-Juno flavor, the film failed to even crack the top three in Friday receipts. Pilgrim's estimated $4.7 million in ticket revenue on Friday was only enough to garner a fourth-ranked spot in weekend's early frame. Budgeted at approximately $60-70 million, the quirky genre-bender will likely have to look home media rentals and sales to recoup its expenses.

Pilgrim has evidently struggled to find its audience in the early going. While the film was clearly marketed to the Web 2.0 youth, tracking on the film barely registered a blip on the radar of any demographic. While the comparison is on the very of becoming hackneyed, Pilgrim could be this summer's Kick-Ass: a violent and quirky motion comic that struggles in the domestic box office despite heavy internet buzz.

There's still room for optimism. The film can still find viable viewership overseas, as Kick-Ass netted nearly 49% of its $96 million revenue in foreign markets, rendering it an overall success. Also, Yahoo! users reviews currently grade out at an A- average, while the reviews of Rotten Tomatoes' user community aggregate at an 82%/7.7 metric. Positive word-of-mouth may spark some necessary momentum for Pilgrim. Otherwise, expect a domestic cume of $11-12 million come Sunday evening.

Raging and roaring into an early lead is The Expendables. Packed with the Who's Who of action film stars, The Expendables cashed in an estimated $13.5 million in ticket sales on Friday. The sheer marquee power of the film's ensemble -- Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Willis, and a cameo by Arnold -- virtually ensured The Expendables of front-running spot in a market starved for adrenaline and action. The early forecast is for The Expendables to collect a steady $34 million by Monday morning.

Coasting behind "The A+ Team" is Eat Pray Love with an estimated $9 million. The latest Julia Roberts vehicle is having modest early success as counterprogramming to grown-man on grown-man violence and de-pixelated video game battles. The early success can be attributed to the late marketing push heavily featuring Roberts' classic megawatt smile, luring the female 40-somethings back to the multiplexes to watch a familiar face. Budgeted at approximately $60 million, Eat Pray Love is currently pacing to rein in over a third of its costs with an estimated weekend gross of $26.5 million. Given the 38% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, now may be a good time to sell or short any stock in EPL.

Among the returning wide releases, The Other Guys suffered a 56% drop from its previous Friday open. Step Up 3D has lost a staggering 65% of its August 6 audience. Steve Carell's Dinner for Schmucks continues to disappoint, and pulled in only an estimated $2 million from its third Friday showing, slotting it below Carell's annie hit, Despicable Me.

How will Scott Pilgrim fare vs. the 8th evil Ex-pendables? Will Eat Pray Love keep its steady pace? Check back on Monday morning for a comprehensive recap and analysis of this weekend's box office performances.

(Alan Man is a registered user of ComicBookMovie.com and the owner of the fansite, The Box Office Watchmen, a website devoted to the box office analysis of comic book films. For questions, comments, or advertising information, please send feel free to e-mail us)

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