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Box Office: ‘King Arthur’ Bombing as It Limps Toward $18 Million Debut

Every summer has them. Big studio movies launched with massive budgets that saddle into multiplexes looking to kick off new film franchise only to be greeted by the forces of audience indifference.

Well, it looks like summer 2017 has its first official flop. Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” Guy Ritchie’s attempt to make the Knights of the Round Table hip again, is collapsing at the box office. Based on its Thursday pre-shows and Friday afternoon mid-day grosses, the $175 million epic is looking at a disastrous $18 million debut. Those projections come from rival studios. Insiders at Warner Bros. think the film could still exceed $20 million, but even if it does, that’s still a very weak start for such an expensive picture. Barring a mid-weekend surge in enthusiasm for tales of gallantry, there will be red ink.

“King Arthur” stars Charlie Hunnam as a rough-and-tumble version of the legendary king, with Jude Law as Vortigern, a war lord who murdered his parents and usurped the crown. Village Roadshow and RatPac-Dune co-financed the picture. Overseas, the film is faring slightly better, pulling in an estimated $4.9 million from such territories as Russia and Germany over the past two days. No matter how it fares internationally, don’t hold your breath for a part two.

As it stands, Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Snatched” may end the weekend with more in the bank than “King Arthur.” The R-rated comedy about a mother-daughter trip gone wrong stars Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. It is expected to bring in $19 million over the weekend. The film cost $42 million to make and marks Hawn’s first film appearance in 15 years.

With the two new releases failing to make a big splash, Disney and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” should cruise to first place again. The comic book adaptation will likely add more than $60 million to its haul. It has already made more than $500 million globally.

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