You win some, you lose some. That phrase is as true for the movie business as it is for investing.
King Arthur, the action-packed take on the famous legend, ranked third in the weekend box office tournament, grossing $15,193,907 (according to boxofficemojo.com). That's for the Friday-to-Sunday frame, the period used for the rankings. The movie opened two days earlier, so its total gross is $23,623,758. That is pretty disappointing, considering the budget was reportedly around $125 million, not counting marketing costs.
It also comes up short of the buzz in advance of the film's release. There was a lot of talk about the "catalytic potential" of this release, that the film would be what was needed to get Disney shares back on a roll, hopefully to reach levels not seen in years. I remember the same kind of talk around the time Pearl Harbor -- also courtesy of Mr. Bruckheimer -- was supposed to take a Titanic-like hold on the mass movie audience.
Didn't happen. And unless King Arthur suddenly does the equivalent of freeing Excalibur from its stony prison in the next few box office frames, it won't happen this time around either. The movie will surely go down from here, and will probably have Disney executives shaking their heads.
Don't blame Bruckheimer necessarily...he did his best. Sony's
This past weekend also contains a see-I-told-you-so element. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 came in one slot behind Arthur for the three-day weekend, but its per-theater average was higher than the Disney property, coming in at $5,485; Bruckheimer's film did $4,923 per location. Moore's cinematic essay on the Bush administration would have been released by Disney, but the company got cold feet. Lion's Gate
King Arthur isn't precisely like one of the disasters seen in Fox's
Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney.