LOS ANGELES: The first major box office flop of the summer movie season has arrived.
Studio estimates on Sunday say director Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opened to a bleak US$14.7 million from more than 3,700 locations against a costly US$175 million production budget.
The gritty reimaging of the Excalibur myth starring Charlie Hunnam as Arthur debuted in third place behind box office leader Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Snatched at No. 2.
Warner Bros. was unsurprisingly disappointed at the poor showing for King Arthur but hopeful for the rest of its summer slate, including Wonder Woman and Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.
Snatched surprised analysts by beating King Arthur on the charts. The raunchy, R-rated Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn comedy from 20th Century Fox opened with US$17.5 million.
Marvel and Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 collected US$63 million and has earned US$246.2 million domestically in just two weeks.
It was down just 57 per cent from last weekend and is proving to be the only film in theatres capable of drawing mass audiences.
Rounding out the top five were holdovers The Fate of the Furious, with US$5.3 million, and The Boss Baby with US$4.6 million.
"The newcomers definitely had a tough time... For most general audiences, Guardians remains the go-to movie," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "It has incredible staying power."
Neither King Arthur nor Snatched were well-received by critics, and audiences weren't all that enchanted either, giving King Arthur a B+ CinemaScore and Snatched a B.
Snatched also lagged behind Schumer's Trainwreck, which opened to US$30.6 million in July 2015.
Dergarabedian, however, noted that the success of Trainwreck was more of an anomaly than a precedent and echoed the studio in categorizing Snatched as a solid start for the film that cost US$42 million to make.
There was a clear gender divide, too, between the two major new releases this weekend. Snatched audiences were heavily female — an estimated 77 per cent according to Fox — while 59 per cent of the audience for King Arthur was male.
Results were mixed for the newcomers with more limited releases.
The sniper drama The Wall starring WWE fighter John Cena as an American soldier took in a tepid US$891,590 from 541 locations. Better off was BH Tilt's East Los Angeles car culture drama Lowriders, with Eva Longoria and Demian Bichir, which opened in only 295 theatres and still managed to take 8th place on the charts with US$2.4 million. The studio said audiences were primarily Hispanic.
Next weekend, Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant will aim to scare Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 out of first place.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theatres, according to comScore.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, US$63 million.
2. Snatched, $17.5 million.
3. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, US$14.7 million.
4. The Fate of the Furious, US$5.3 million."
5. The Boss Baby, US$4.6 million.
6. Beauty and the Beast, US$3.9 million.
7. How to be a Latin Lover, US$3.8 million.
8. Lowriders, US$2.4 million.
9. The Circle, US$1.7 million.
10. MET Opera: Der Rosenkavalier (2017), US$1.7 million. -- AP