Movie projector: ‘The Karate Kid’ and ‘The A-Team’ fight it out in battle of the ‘80s

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Two beloved properties from the ‘80s will be duking it out for No. 1 at the box office this weekend.

Sony Pictures’ remake of ‘The Karate Kid’ and 20th Century Fox’s big-screen adaptation of the television show ‘The A-Team’ are both on track to sell between $30 million and $35 million worth of tickets at the box office this weekend, people who have seen pre-release polling results say.


However, the movies will likely attract distinctly different audiences.

The action-heavy, PG-13 ‘A-Team’ is tracking best with teenage boys and men, while the PG ‘Karate Kid’ is more of a draw for families with children of both genders, as well as women.

Given their different core audiences, ‘The A-Team’ is more likely to win the box office race on Friday, while ‘The Karate Kid’ could pull ahead on Saturday and Sunday thanks to matinees.

If both movies open at about the same level, ‘The Karate Kid’ will be in much better shape financially. Sony spent about $40 million on the reboot starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. ‘The A-Team,’ which stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel, cost Fox and its partner Dune Entertainment $110 million, though tax credits brought the final budget to around $100 million.

In addition, family movies tend to play much longer at the box office than action films, which can drop off quickly. Both pictures have received mixed reviews, so there’s no indication yet which will get better audience word-of-mouth.

Some studio executives are worried that both films will underperform, however, after a string of recent releases have had weak openings. The first five weekends of the summer box-office season have been a major disappointment to Hollywood, as domestic ticket sales revenue is down 4% from the same period a year ago and attendance is down 10%.

Two movies that opened last weekend are hoping for good holds after decent but not great starts. ‘Get Him to the Greek’ has continued to lead ‘Killers’ in weekday grosses after edging it out when both comedies opened simultaneously.

-- Ben Fritz

Top photo: Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Liam Neeson in ‘The A-Team.’ Credit: Doug Curran / 20th Century Fox.