Marcus Nispel’s remake of Conan the Barbarian is a high-profile project for former Stargate Atlantis co-star Jason Momoa, putting the “Ronon Dex” actor front-and-center in a significant fantasy action film. But it’s off to a weak start at the box office.
Conan debuted in the U.S. on Friday, and early estimates project an opening weekend tally of just $10.5 million on approximately 4,500 screens. That will be good for a fourth place opening. Approximately 61 percent of earnings were from 3D showings (2,100 screens), according to Box Office Mojo.
The movie reportedly had a production budget of around $90 million (plus marketing and distribution costs), putting this weekend’s debut securely in “flop” territory. Distributor Lionsgate was already low-balling its opening weekend expectations at around $15 million.
On the box office chart Conan trailed behind The Help ($20.5 million in its second week), Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($16.3 million for its third week), and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (new release, $12 million). (See the rest and read industry analysis at Deadline.com.)
Reviews for the film slanted toward the negative, with a meager 27 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Reviewers generally praised the action and visual spectacle but panned the thin storyline and mindless, video game-style gore. The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Roger Ebert gave Conan one and a half stars out of four, calling it “a brutal, crude, witless high-tech CGI contrivance, in which no artificial technique has been overlooked, including 3D.” Leonard Maltin, by contrast, said: “You don’t go to a movie like this expecting to hear Shakespearean dialogue, but the action, under Marcus Nispel’s direction, is consistently vigorous and exciting.”
Momoa’s feature film debut may have a stronger showing in international markets, however. It opens in the U.K. this Friday, August 26.
Have you seen Conan? What did you think of the movie?