LOS ANGELES — Studios put forward two new wide-release movies over the weekend, and both were shrugs: not hits, not misses. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” took in about $14 million for Sony Pictures; “Going in Style,” about three feisty oldsters, managed to reap $12.5 million for Warner Bros.
The No. 1 movie was again “The Boss Baby” (20th Century Fox), which collected about $26.3 million, for a two-week domestic total of $89.4 million, according to comScore.
Met with weak reviews, “Going in Style” will likely fade quickly from Hollywood’s radar. (It was directed by Zach Braff and cost $25 million to make.) But the animated “Smurfs: The Lost Village” may be remembered as an example of how difficult it is to keep a movie franchise alive — if one installment does not satisfy, the next chapter is usually in trouble.
After a long absence, Smurfette and crew returned in 2011. Sony released “The Smurfs” that year to blockbuster results. It took in $564 million in global ticket sales. But it was a poorly made movie, receiving 78 percent negative reviews, according to RottenTomatoes.com. In other words, nostalgia and pent-up demand drove much of the turnout.
“The Smurfs 2,” in 2013, was even worse — reviews were 87 percent negative — and people started to vote with their feet. The sequel took in $347 million worldwide. “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” aimed more squarely at children, was notably better (61 percent negative), but moviegoers have long memories: The stink from the first two films was probably too much for those little blue “Lost Village” legs to outrun.
Some analysts noted that Sony protected itself. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” cost $60 million to make, or 43 percent less than “The Smurfs 2.” The latest movie could also still be a moneymaker based on overseas interest. Foreign ticket sales made up 80 percent of the total for “The Smurfs 2.”