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'Green Lantern' sends distress signal

Ryan Reynolds stars in

Ryan Reynolds stars in "Green Lantern." Photo Credit: DC Comics

The Ryan Reynolds superhero flick "Green Lantern" pulled in $52.7 million over the weekend, according to BoxOfficeMojo, about on par with expectations. But despite becoming the No. 1 movie, it also underscored audience dissatisfaction with Hollywood's recent output of comic-book adaptations, cartoons and sequels.

High ticket prices for 3-D screenings, rather than overall attendance, may be one reason "Green Lantern" performed even modestly. Those 3-D screenings accounted for 45 percent of ticket sales, while estimated attendance was lower than that for flops like "Daredevil" and "Ghost Rider." (BoxOfficeMojo did not release actual attendance figures.)

The opening take of "Green Lantern" was less than that of the widely-panned "Thor" and even of "X-Men: First Class," which had the slowest start of any film in its franchise.

The disappointing performance comes on the heels of other potential summer blockbusters whose seemingly huge grosses hide signs of disappointment and apathy among moviegoers. Consider:

  • "Thor" had a decent but unexciting opening weekend with $65.7 million, and its attendance was said to be less than that of lukewarm releases like the "Hulk" films and "Fantastic Four."
  • "X-Men: First Class" continues to stagnate. Its third-weekend drop was the steepest of any movie in the franchise.
  • "Kung Fu Panda 2" has earned $143.3 million so far, about 25 percent less than what its predecessor was earning at this point.
  • "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" opened with $35 million, much less than the previous film ($42.9 million) and the one before ($55.8 million).

With some exceptions (the baffling success of "Fast Five," for instance), the message seems clear. Like workers who keep eating at the factory cafeteria, moviegoers take what they're served but aren't very happy about it.

The grumbling mob will see a slew of similar movies coming this summer, including Friday's "Cars 2," the third "Transformers" entry, "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Cowboys and Aliens."

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