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Posted at 02:02 PM ET, 06/19/2011

DIM BULB?: ‘Green Lantern’ suffers power outage with $52.7M debut

This past week, many critics savaged it. This weekend, many filmgoers simply ignored it.

“Green Lantern” topped the domestic box office by grossing $52.7-million in its debut, according to studio estimates Sunday — well short of even Warner Bros.’s projections of about $58-million. Final numbers are expected Monday.

The 3D film reportedly rang up a hefty bill, to boot. Production budget: $200-million. Planetary marketing budget: $125-million. In other words, ”Green Lantern” is going to have to make up much box-office ground globally.

Non-fanboy audiences may be suffering some from Summer Superhero Film Fatigue. “Green Lantern,” starring Ryan Reynolds as DC Comics’s emerald-energy Guardian, followed Marvel’s “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class” on the summer tarmac. By the time “Captain America: The First Avenger” hits theaters next month, many moviegoers may have had enough recovery time to try one last “comic-book film” for the season.

Didn’t help that so many critics and film fans found so little to like about “Lantern.” The film received a puny “40” index from the pro reviewers and just a “6.7” userscore on Metacritic.com. (Roger Ebert and the Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy offered two of the few notable exceptions with their mostly positive reviews; Ebert even said he preferred director Martin Campbell’s film to “Thor.”)

From reviewers who mostly trashed the film, two of the most common (and damning) adjectives were “boring” and “joyless.”

The Metacritic scores fairly jibe with RottenTomatoes.com, where ”Lantern” received a “25” reviewer index and a “62-percent” audience score.

Prior to “Lantern’s” release, producer and DC exec Geoff Johns — who since 2004-05’s “Rebirth” comic has made Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern a must-read character — told Comic Riffs he was hopeful that there would be a “Lantern” sequel.

Now, how the film performs worldwide — and whether it has any summer ”legs” — should go a long way toward determining the franchise’s cinematic fate.

Elsewhere, J.J. Abrams’ ode-to-Spielberg “Super 8” was second with ($21.3-million) and “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”($18.2-million debut) was third, according to Box Office Mojo.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” ($6.2-million) was eighth and is on the verge of becoming only the eighth film ever to top $1-billion gross worldwide — with an especially high take of the film’s $952-million gross coming from foreign audiences (about $732-million).

As for non-”Lantern” superheroes, “X-Men: First Class” ($11.2-million) was fourth for the weekend and “Thor” ($1.15-million) was 11th. Together, those two Marvel films have now grossed about $700-million worldwide.

To the superhero victor go the spoils.

MORE: “Green Lantern”writer-producer GEOFF JOHNS talks Hollywood, Hal Jordan and his brightest days

MORE: Marvel mastermind STAN LEE reveals why the superhero film — and fandom — endures

By  |  02:02 PM ET, 06/19/2011

 
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