Bryan Singer's revisionist fairy tale Jack and the Giant Slayer is off to a meek start at the North American box office and may only earn $25 million for the weekend unless the PG-13 pic transforms into a family film on Saturday.
That's a sobering figure considering New Line and financing partner Legendary Pictures spent nearly $200 million to make the 3D tentpole, which is loosely based on the classic British story Jack and the Beanstalk. Including marketing, the total price tag approaches $300 million.
Nor are early returns promising for new entires 21 and Over and The Last Exorcism Part II. Relativity Media's 21 and Over may only debut to $11 million, while CBS Films' Exorcism II may only get to $8 million.
Jack is already drawing comparisons to last year's Battleship, which cost roughly the same and opened to $25.5 million in late May. Universal was ultimately forced to take a major write-down; ditto for Disney after March 2012 tentpole John Carter bombed (that film debuted to roughly $30 million).
New Line and its parent company Warner Bros. are already counting on strong international business to make up for any deficit in North America. Early numbers show that Jack is doing solid business in seven Asian markets where it opened Thursday.
Jack debuted to $761,000 in North Korea to come in behind two local films, New World and Micable in Cell No. 7. It placed No. 1 in the six other Asian territories.
In North America, Warners is making a major push for families, despite Jack's PG-13 rating. The film's release was pushed back from June 2012 in order to make the movie more kid-friendly. That effort included changing the name from Jack the Giant Killer.
Jack's debut could exceed $25 million if older kids and their parents being turning out in force on Saturday.
The movie grossed $400,000 in Thursday night and midnight runs