Somewhere in his offices in Santa Monica, Jerry Bruckheimer is not a happy man. The legendary producer has made his home at Walt Disney Studios for the almost twenty years providing the Mouse House with such blockbusters as “Armageddon,” “The Rock,” “National Treasure” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Unfortunately, he’s now on a cold streak and he may not have much to do with it.
Opening to an extremely disappointing $3.8 million on Wednesday, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is the second under-performing flick this summer for Bruckheimer after “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” At this point, “Sorcerer’s” is looking at anywhere from $30-35 million for the five-day. That’s a weak opening for what Disney hoped would be a potential new franchise. Disney also pushed Bruckheimer and director John Turtletaub to tone down the action in the picture to deliver a PG rating hoping family audiences would make it a “must see.” Instead, “Despicable Me” outgrossed it with $7.1 million on the same day and the cuts to “Apprentice” have contributed to its mostly negative critical reception. Needless to say, the Disney marketing and distribution decisions also underestimated the competition from “Despicable” and the rest of the summer landscape. In hindsight, a November slot similar to star Nic Cage’s “National Treasure” films may have allowed the picture more breathing room.
All is not lost however, Bruckheimer’s “Persia” has found a marginal $89 million in the states, but a strong $236 million overseas. That won’t make up its $200 million budget, but holds out hope the less expensive “Apprentice” can have a magical run internationally.
“Apprentice” will face off against “Inception” on Friday.