Green Lantern

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  • Directed By: Martin Campbell
  • Written By: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
  • Release Date: June 17, 2011
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard

Box Office Info:
Budget: $200 millionFinanced by: Warner Bros
Domestic Gross: $116,601,172Overseas Gross: $103,250,000

“Green Lantern was a failure. It just did not work and didn’t succeed.”
Director Martin Campbell


A Green Lantern project had been kicking around for ages at Warner Bros and finally was in active development in late 2008.  Legendary was expected to co-finance with Warner Bros, but the production company (housed at WB at the time) passed on the expensive picture.  The budget for Green Lantern was $200 million and it was entirely backed by Warner Bros.  Green Lantern was also one of the inaugural projects from Warner Bros newly created DC Entertainment Inc., which was run by Diane Nelson.  Warner’s DC Entertainment division had a terrible start in 2010 with The Losers and then Jonah Hex and stumbled again with this mega-flop.

Green Lantern had a rocky time reaching theaters and the first released trailer was met with disappointment, which Warner Bros acknowledged — since most of the vfx money shots were not finished and couldn’t be included in the trailer.  Sue Kroll, WB’s worldwide marketing president, said: “Part of the reason the response to the first trailer was lukewarm was that the big-scale sequences weren’t ready to show, and we suffered for it.  We can’t afford to do that again.”  Warner Bros would also keep throwing cash at the project, spending millions on additional visual effects to punch up this bloated mess, just before its release.

The WB marketing machine put its full weight behind the movie and the ad spend was reported at over $100 million in the US and $75 million spent overseas.  Not all of that was spent by WB, there were dozens of cross promotional tie ins with companies all over the globe.  Warner Bros Consumer Products went all out on this one, partnering with Mattel for a line of toys, Six Flags had a Green Lantern themed rollercoaster, Reese’s had a tie-in, Doritos, Lipton Green Tea and an endless parade of corporate junk shilling for this would-be franchise starter.

Green Lantern was dated for June 17 and bowed against Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  Reviews were dreadful and it opened with $53,174,303 — a respectable, but soft number for a film with hundreds of millions of dollars behind it.  Word of mouth was not strong and the movie plummeted 66.1% in its second weekend to $18,028,056 when Cars 2 and Bad Teacher led the box office.  The pic sank 63.6% in its third frame to $6,556,612 when Transformers: Dark Of The Moon took most of the box office to itself and Green Lantern closed its disappointing domestic run with $116,601,172.

Overseas, Warner Bros released the movie to less than blockbuster numbers, killing off their planned franchise.  It took in $103.2 million from the rest of the world, bringing the film’s worldwide total to $219 million.  Warner Bros would see returned about $120M after theaters take their percentage of the gross.  The scores of Green Lantern merchandise did cushion the massive loss the film left.  The film division at Time Warner posted a $184 million quarter write-down, which was mostly from the poor performance of Green Lantern.  The amortized loss after ancillary sales was closer to $75 million.

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