March 2, 2009 // 7:32 am
- It's official: "Street Fighter: the Legend of Chun-Li" is a flop. Even given a perfunctory release on 1,136 theaters, its estimated weekend gross of $4.65 million and per screen average of $4,093 is lame, albeit not disastrous.
Box Office Mojo has a useful chart of video game-to-movie adaptations, on which "Chun-Li" comes in no. 23 of 28. Amongst the movies that beat it: Uwe Boll's "In the Name of the King," "Alone in the Dark," and "House of the Dead"; "Wing Commander" in 1999; and "The Wizard" in 1989 (yes, folks, that's in non-inflation adjusted dollars).
And, yes indeed, it came in well behind the 1994 Jean Claude Van Damme "Street Fighter" classic, which bowed to $6.6 million.
Keep in mind, however, that a weak performance in the U.S. doesn't necessarily mean "Legend of Chun-Li" is a big money loser for financiers Capcom and Hyde Park.
For a movie like this, domestic release is basically a tool to support the places where it really makes money: Overseas (especially Asia) and DVD. With a budget I've heard estimated at around $30 million, the movie could still end up doing OK, even if not many people in the U.S. actually want to go to a movie theater and pay $10 to see it.
Given the bad reviews, soft opening, and the genre, it's pretty reasonable to expect this movie to take a giant drop next weekend. But it may have a trick up its sleeve in the form of "Watchmen."
Yes, logic would tell us that the young male audience that might be interested in a "Street Fighter" movie is a lot more likely to see "Watchmen."
However, the latter movie is rated R, while the former is PG-13, unlikely to sell out, and unlikely to raise eyebrows if, say, a 15 year-old boy buys tickets (as opposed to, say, "Madea Goes to Jail." So if teenagers are looking to buy tickets and sneak into "Watchmen," "Street Fighter" could benefit.