First look: ‘Karate Kid’ crane kicks ‘A-Team’ to No. 2 spot


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In what had looked to be a tight battle of ‘80s brand names, a team of mercenaries was decimated by a 11 year-old.

Sony Pictures’ remake of ‘The Karate Kid’ starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan opened to an excellent $56 million, according to a studio estimate, while 20th Century Fox’s big screen version of TV show ‘The A-Team’ starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel debuted to a soft but not terrible $26 million.


Pre-release polling had indicated that the two new films would be in a tight race for first place at the box office in the $30-million to $35-million range, with ‘Karate Kid’ drawing more families and ‘The A-Team’ mostly guys.

But Sony’s film got off to a surprisingly strong start on Friday, indicating that it played as well to adults as to children, and expanded on its 2 to 1 advantage over ‘The A-Team’ on Saturday as families attended matinees.

Both movies got mixed reviews, but audiences were much more positive. ‘The Karate Kid’ got an average grade of A and ‘A-Team’ got a B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

‘Karate Kid’ is the first movie to substantially exceed pre-release estimates in what so far has been a disappointing summer movie season for Hollywood. The film looks to be a big financial winner for Sony, which spent about $40 million to produce the picture. Fox and its financing partner, Dune Entertainment, may struggle with ‘A-Team,’ which cost around $100 million after tax credits.

Both movies have yet to open in most major foreign countries.

Three movies that opened last weekend both had relatively good holds of less than 50%. Comedy ‘Get Him to the Greek’ declined 43% to $10.1 million, family film ‘Marmaduke’ was down 48% to $6 million, and romantic comedy ‘Killers’ dropped 48% to $8.1 million.

-- Ben Fritz

Top photo: Jaden Smith in ‘The Karate Kid.’ Credit: Jasin Boland / Sony Pictures. Bottom photo: Liam Neeson in ‘The A-Team.’ Credit: 20th Century Fox