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Box Office: ‘King Arthur’ Looks Like an Epic Flop

In only the second weekend of the summer box office, the first ice-cold front approaches.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” looks to continue its reign over the box office this weekend, but it’s far from the most interesting story. That title goes to “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” which is anticipating an opening weekend flop of epic proportions for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow. Off of a $175 million production budget, not taking into account marketing costs, Guy Ritchie’s take on the medieval legend should make $25 million from over 3,600 locations.

Ritchie has seen box office glory in the past with 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes” ($209 million domestic and $524 million worldwide) and its 2011 sequel, “A Game of Shadows” ($187 million, $545 million). But more recently, the director saw a similar fate with his 2015 outing for Warner Bros., “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” The film ended its run with nearly $110 million worldwide off a $75 million budget, despite receiving generally positive reviews from critics.

Popular on Variety

The same cannot be said for “King Arthur,” which was sliced and diced by the critical community, and currently holds a doleful 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s Peter Debruge panned the movie — which tells the story of Arthur who draws the sword Excalibur from the stone and is confronted with its power — as “just a loud, obnoxious parade of flashy set pieces, as one visually busy, belligerent action scene after another marches by, each making less sense than the last, but all intended to overwhelm.”

Perhaps some of the inevitable blame for the film’s anticipated draw can be shoved onto its star, Charlie Hunnam, who is best known for his role on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” and relatively untested as a movie star. The most thought-provoking point of comparison might be 2013’s “Pacific Rim,” which Hunnam anchored. The big-budget action film was widely considered a domestic bummer ($102 million by the end of its run), but scored overseas, leading to a worldwide total of over $400 million. Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow are most likely hoping for similar international traction since there seems to be little stateside.

Not to be confused with Ritchie’s 2000 Brad Pitt-starrer “Snatch,” Fox’s “Snatched” is also opening this weekend. Despite being a mid-budget R-rated comedy, the movie should give “King Arthur” (a big-budget action flick) a run for its money. Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn star in “Snatched” as a mother and daughter whose exotic vacation goes wildly and dangerously wrong. With an early estimate in the $15 million to $17 million range, some are predicting that it will make more on faith that female-driven comedies like Kristen Wiig’s “Bridesmaids” and Schumer’s own feature debut, “Trainwreck,” are routinely underestimated at the box office. The Chernin Entertainment and Feigco Entertainment production was directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by “Ghostbusters” writer Katie Dippold.

All this to say, Disney’s “Guardians 2” should pummel its new competition on the way to a second weekend on top of the domestic box office. Even if it sees a 60% drop from its opening weekend grosses of $145 million, the sequel to 2014’s surprise hit should more than double the newcomers with around $60 million. In its first 13 days (two weekends overseas and one in the U.S.), James Gunn’s group of unlikely heroes grossed $428 million. The only race for the film now is between itself and the billion-dollar mark.

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