First look: ‘Shrek’ wins weekend as ‘Sex’ disappoints and ‘Persia’ flops

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In the battle of the sexes at the box office over Memorial Day weekend, both lost out to a big green ogre.

‘Sex and the City 2,’ which had been expected to draw big crowds of women this weekend, ended up grossing less in five days than the first ‘Sex and the City’ film did in its first three, while male-skewing video-game adaptation ‘Prince of Persia’ landed with a thud as the biggest flop of the summer so far.


‘Shrek Forever After’ easily topped the box office chart, dropping a relatively modest 39% on its second weekend as it sold a studio-estimated $55.7 million in tickets from Friday through Monday in the U.S. and Canada. That’s significantly better than the 56% drop for ‘Shrek the Third’ on Memorial Day weekend in 2007. However, after the new film’s disappointing $70-million start, it’s still well behind its predecessor, which had collected $217.3 million by Memorial Day. DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Shrek Forever After,’ distributed by Paramount Pictures, has taken in $145.5 million domestically so far.

‘Sex and the City 2' had been poised to win the weekend based on pre-release polling. Perhaps hurt by uniformly awful reviews, however, it came in lower than expected, grossing $37.1 million for the four-day holiday weekend and $51.4 million including its opening Thursday. That’s not bad given its production budget of about $95 million, co-financed by Warner Bros.’ New Line Cinema unit and Village Roadshow Pictures. However, it’s less than the $57 million that the first movie based on the long-running HBO series starring Sarah Jessica Parker made on its opening three-day weekend in 2008.

Walt Disney Studios’ big-budget ‘Prince of Persia,’ which starred Jake Gyllenhaal, opened to $37.8 million from Friday through Monday, a dismal start given its huge budget of $200 million.

‘Persia,’ which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, did better internationally, though it was far from a huge hit. After opening to $18 million in 19 foreign countries the previous weekend, the action-adventure played in every major foreign country this weekend and took in a solid $59 million through Sunday.

‘Sex and the City 2' played in 17 foreign countries, including Great Britain and Germany, and matched or exceeded its predecessor in most of them, grossing $27.6 million through Sunday.

‘Shrek Forever After’ is playing in only 15 foreign markets, with most set to open in late June or July after the World Cup. It collected $18.5 million this weekend, with particularly strong results in Russia, increasing its international total to $53.5 million.

French film ‘Micmacs,’ from ‘Amélie’ director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, opened to a so-so $56,751 over the four day weekend at four theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

-- Ben Fritz

Top photo: A scene from ‘Shrek Forever After.’ Credit: DreamWorks Animation.