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Henry Cavill-Kellan Lutz 'Immortals' Tops, Far Behind '300'

Kellan Lutz, shirtless, Poseidon, Immortals
Kellan Lutz as Poseidon, Immortals

These days, it doesn't take much to easily top the North American box office. But then again, if money is scarce – like it is for the 99 percent – and you have the choice between watching Adam Sandler in drag and a semi-naked Henry Cavill, who would you – regardless of your gender/sexual orientation – rather go see?

Toplining Henry Cavill's pecs, abs, and legs, Tarsem Singh's Immortals grossed more than expected last week, though less than expected yesterday: as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, the period fantasy adventure collected $32 million (including $1.4 million from Thursday midnight showings). Last week, many pundits were predicting a $25 million or so opening; yesterday, there was hope Singh's movie might reach as high as $38 million.

Why didn't it? Well, Immortals was down 32 percent on Saturday – 25 percent after deducting Thursday midnight figures – and is expected to be down 33 percent today. The Sunday downturn is normal; the Saturday downturn isn't exactly a great omen. For comparison's sake, Zack Snyder's 300 was down 12 percent on Saturday (only 4 percent if deducting Thursday midnight figures).

300 ultimately took in $70.88 million (approx. $82 million today) on its North American debut weekend in early March 2007. (Coincidentally, Zack Snyder is directing Man of Steel, which stars Henry Cavill as Superman.) Unlike 300, Immortals has the advantage of 3D surcharges, as 70 percent of the 3,112 theaters showing the film are doing so in 3D. Another comparison: Louis Leterrier's 3D epic fantasy Clash of Titans, featuring Avatar's Sam Worthington, collected $61.23 million on opening weekend (approx. $62 million today) in early April last year.

Though way behind its two brawn-and-sandals predecessors, Immortals now boasts Relativity Media's best opening ever, having far surpassed previous record holder Limitless. Starring Bradley Cooper and Abbie Cornish, Limitless earned $18.9 million on its debut. Immortals has also had the third-biggest opening for an R-rated release this year, trailing only The Hangover Part II's $85.94 million and Paranormal Activity 3's $52.56 million.

Immortals' international figures look more promising. The film has already collected $36 million abroad, including China, Germany, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. It'll likely become a major international hit, helping Immortals surge above and beyond its domestic take. In fact, Hollywood studios know that, with relatively few exceptions, their movies can earn back their costs at the box office only after doing well overseas. Singh's fantasy adventure cost a reported $75 million after rebates.

In addition to Henry Cavill, Immortals features Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Mickey Rourke, Stephen McHattie, Isabel Lucas, Daniel Sharman, Joseph Morgan, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1's Kellan Lutz as Poseidon. Coincidentally, Cavill was Stephenie Meyer's initial choice to play the lovestruck vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga movies. Robert Pattinson has since become identified with the role.

Immortals picture: Jan Thijs / Relativity Media.

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Henry Cavill, Immortals, Theseus
Henry Cavill, Immortals

Starring Henry Cavill, Tarsem Singh's Immortals grossed more than early estimates published last night: new official studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo has the film pegged at $15 million on Veteran's Day Friday (including $1.4 million from Thursday midnight showings), which indicates the period fantasy adventure may bring in as much as $38 million over the weekend. That would be about $12 million above what "tracking" had indicated.

For comparison's sake: Zack Snyder's 300, which also featured lots of muscular legs and chests, took in $70.88 million (approx. $82 million today) on its debut weekend in early March 2007. (Coincidentally, Snyder is directing Man of Steel, which stars Cavill as Superman.) And unlike 300, Immortals has the advantage of 3D surcharges; 70 percent of the 3,112 theaters showing the film are doing so in 3D.
Also, Louis Leterrier's 3D epic fantasy Clash of Titans, featuring Avatar's Sam Worthington, collected $61.23 million on opening weekend (approx. $62 million today) in early April last year.

In addition to Henry Cavill, Immortals features Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1's Kellan Lutz, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Mickey Rourke, Stephen McHattie, Isabel Lucas, Daniel Sharman, and Joseph Morgan. The fantasy adventure cost a reported $75 million.

Directed by Dennis Dugan and starring Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes and Al Pacino, Jack and Jill also performed above early estimates. Despite a 0 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics (though I spotted two fresh tomatoes on the list), the lowbrow comedy earned an estimated $9.85 million on Friday. If weekend estimates of $25 million are correct, Jack and Jill will be the second-lowest opening for an Adam Sandler comedy in the past five years; released in 2009, Funny People debuted with $22.65 million.

Puss in Boots, featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, was the no. 3 movie, with $9 million. Before the weekend is over, the DreamWorks Animation feature may end up ahead of Jack and Jill.

Down 39 percent from last Friday, Brett Ratner's Tower Heist came in fourth place. The action caper featuring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Gabourey Sidibe, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, Téa Leoni, and Alan Alda drew $4.9 million, slightly above early estimates. Despite all the Academy Awards ceremony headlines featuring both Ratner and Murphy, Tower Heist is expected to gross only $13-$14 million by Sunday evening, down about 45-50 percent from opening weekend.

Immortals picture: Jan Thijs / Relativity Media.

Immortals, Henry Cavill shirtless pecs
Henry Cavill showing off his pecs and abs, Immortals (click on the image to enlarge it)

The Twilight Saga will rule the North American box office this weekend. Well, in a manner of speaking. Fans are already lining up days before the world premiere of Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, but that's not what I'm talking about, either.

Two Twilight-connected performers have top roles in this weekend's box office champion, Tarsem Singh's Immortals: Henry Cavill, who happened to be author Stephenie Meyer's original choice for the role of Edward Cullen (which went to a guy named Robert Pattinson), and Kellan Lutz, who plays Edward's big brother Emmett Cullen in the Twilight Saga movies.

Distributed by Relativity Media, which is also handling Singh's upcoming Snow White project Mirror Mirror, the R-rated Immortals features Greek gods fighting, romancing, and showing off their pecs and other physical endowments. That seems to be what moviegoers want today: the adventure epic earned about $13.5-$14 million on Veteran's Day Friday (including $1.4 million from Thursday midnight showings) according to The Hollywood Reporter. That should translate into approximately $33-$35 million for the weekend, or about $8-$10 million more than indicated by (often unreliable) tracking.

Good news for Hollywood? Absolutely. But Nikki Finke puts things in perspective at Deadline.com, when she remarks that Zack Snyder's 300 took in $70.88 million (not adjusted for inflation) when it opened in early March 2007. (Coincidentally, Snyder is directing Man of Steel, which stars Cavill as Superman.)

Also worth noting: 300 cost a reported (and unadjusted) $65m; Immortals cost $75 million, as per Deadline. Unlike 300, Immortals has the advantage of 3D surcharges; you'll need to shell out more dough for 3D glasses at 70 percent of the 3,112 theaters showing the film.

In addition to Cavill and Lutz, Immortals features Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Stephen McHattie, Isabel Lucas, Daniel Sharman, and Joseph Morgan.

Immortals picture: Jan Thijs / Relativity Media.

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