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The Green Hornet Box Office: Sony Starts Year with Another Bomb

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The Green Hornet Seth Rogen Jay ChouThe Green Hornet with Seth Rogen and Jay Chou: The year has begun with two costly domestic box office underperformers. Dud #1 is Michel Gondry’s feature film version of the old radio/television series The Green Hornet; dud #2 is Ron Howard’s dark comedy The Dilemma.
  • The Green Hornet box office: Directed by Michel Gondry, and featuring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, and Cameron Diaz, this nine-figure Sony Pictures release based on the old radio/TV series/movie serials about a determined crime fighter and his karate-chopping sidekick is about to become one of the year’s biggest domestic flops.

The Green Hornet box office: Featuring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, Michel Gondry’s 3D ‘superhero’ flick is a costly flop in the making

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

Jan. 14–16 weekend box office: Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, and Cameron Diaz, Michel Gondry’s critically dismissed 3D “superhero” movie The Green Hornet grossed $33.5 million from 3,584 North American (U.S. and Canada only) theaters, thus easily topping the domestic chart according to final studio figures found at

Although The Green Hornet’s opening-weekend take beat pundits’ expectations, there’s no way this Sony Pictures release will manage to match – let one recoup – its reported $120–$150 million production budget (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses) in the domestic market.

If international moviegoers don’t flock to the rescue – they’ve done wonders for domestic underperformers like Universal’s Robin Hood (overseas take: $216.4 million), Disney’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ($245.6 million), and Sony’s own The Tourist ($211.1 million) – the studio will have another costly box office dud in its hands following James L. Brooksmega-budget mega-bomb How Do You Know.

For the time being, things abroad don’t look all that rosy. The Green Hornet debuted with a modest $16.1 million from 35 territories. That’s the lowest international gross for a no. 1 title since Sony’s own dystopian thriller Resident Evil: Afterlife back in October 2010.

The Green Hornet movie cast

Based on the characters created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker and first featured on a 1936 radio show (and later in movie serials, a television series, etc.), The Green Hornet follows the crime-fighting adventures of Los Angeles-based newspaper heir Britt Reid, a.k.a. the Green Hornet, and his martial-arts-proficient assistant/sidekick Kato.

Besides Seth Rogen (who also shares screenplay credit with Evan Goldberg) as the title character, Jay Chou as Kato, and Cameron Diaz as Britt Reid’s secretary and romantic interest Lenore Case, The Green Hornet features Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, 2009) as the powerful L.A.-based Russian mobster Benjamin Chudnofsky, David Harbour, Jamie Harris, Edward Furlong, Oscar nominees Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom, 2001; Michael Clayton, 2007) and Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver, 1988), and James Franco in a cameo.

For the record, Gordon Jones starred in the 1940 movie serial The Green Hornet. The following year, Warren Hull starred in the sequel, The Green Hornet Strikes Again!. Keye Luke and Anne Nagel played, respectively, Kato and Lenore Case in both serials.

Van Williams and Bruce Lee starred in the 1966 TV series, with Wende Wagner as Lenore.

International market helps some – but a major money-loser all the same

Update: Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet movie adaptation ultimately collected an unimpressive (in relation to its budget) $98.8 million domestically and $129 million internationally. Worldwide total: $227.8 million – hardly enough for the mega-budget “superhero” flick to break even.

Its top international markets were China ($19.8 million), Germany ($10.9 million), Australia ($9.3 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($8.7 million), Mexico ($7.9 million), France ($7.3 million), Japan ($6.9 million), Russia/CIS ($6.6 million), Brazil ($5.1 million), and Taiwan ($4.1 million).

The Green Hornet Box Office: Sony Starts Year with Another Bomb” notes

Unless otherwise noted, “The Green Hornet Box Office: Sony Starts Year with Another Bomb” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety,, etc.).

Comments about The Green Hornet and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Seth Rogen and Jay Chou The Green Hornet movie image: Sony Pictures.

The Green Hornet Box Office: Sony Starts Year with Another Bomb” last updated in November 2023.

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