Long Distance Box Office: Wrath of the Titans

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We’re going to give Sony a break this week and look at Warner Bros.’ first big sequel of 2012, Wrath of the Titans, a follow-up to 2010’s Clash of the Titans, which is currently scheduled for release on March 30, 2012. This one is a little more difficult because we won’t be seeing the first trailer for roughly a month or so–it should be in front of Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” sequel in December–but even so, one may wonder whether this is a sequel that anyone really wants to see.

Granted, we kind of liked the original Clash of the Titans when it was released last year–we were in the minority there–even if it was plagued by a rather careless and needless decision to convert it into 3D at the last minute due to the success of James Cameron’s Avatar. That alone probably ruined the experience for many older male fans of the original ’80s fantasy epic that followed Perseus (played by Avatar‘s Sam Worthington, ironically enough) on a quest to save a princess and get revenge on the Gods who have made his life so miserable.

Even so, the movie opened on April 1 (pushed back a week for that 3D conversion (’cause having one week more really made a difference) and grossed almost $64 million in its opening weekend (including 8pm screenings on Thursday). That number is not something that can be scoffed at, as it’s the third-biggest April opening after the last two “Fast and Furious” movies. The movie went on to gross $163 million domestically (roughly 2.5 times its opening, not great) but made twice that amount internationally. And that’s what brings us to Warner Bros. making a sequel, because a movie that grosses nearly $500 million globally is a box office success, plain and simple.

Obviously, Sam Worthington’s Perseus is back and so are the Greek Gods, including Zeus, played by Liam Neeson and Hades, played by Ralph Fiennes. Gemma Arterton is gone, which disappoints us greatly, because we love her more than we love our own mother. (Sorry, Mom!) We also enjoyed Mads Mikkelsen and Liam Cunningham as two of Perseus’ fellow warriors and they obviously can’t come back – you know why if you’ve seen the movie. They’re joined this time by Bill Nighy, who starred in the second and third “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Toby Kebbell, who was in Prince of Persia, and former Bond Girl Rosamund Pike.

The sequel is directed by Jonathan Liebesman who went right into making this following the release of his Marines vs. the aliens war epic Battle: Los Angeles but without a trailer, very little is known about the direction he plans to take, especially since “Wrath” isn’t a remake and there isn’t any original source material to give us some idea.

None of the names above will make that big a difference unless Warner Bros. can deliver a killer first trailer though, which shows they’ve upped the ante on the creatures Perseus and his men will be facing this time around. The only competition “Wrath” has to face that week is Sony Animation’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits, which we don’t think will have very much of an impact on it.

We do think that they’d be wise to secure IMAX screens for the movie this time around because it’s really the best way to see a big screen epic like this one, and that was a missed opportunity with the first movie. Even if they do, we don’t think that this sequel can open as big as the original, just because there are too many people who paid to see the first movie, many of them paying extra for 3D, who walked away disappointed. Critics also hated it with only 28% in favor of the movie on Rotten Tomatoes.

With that in mind and without having seen a trailer, we think this could end up opening in the mid-$40 million range and end up with roughly $110 million total unless by some twist of fate, it ends up being a cast improvement over its predecessor and critics and fanboys who hated the previous movie give it a chance. Warner Bros. are probably far more optimistic than we are–maybe because they know the sequel will do better internationally than domestically–since they already have writers developing… wait for it… Clash of the Titans 3! (Oh, please, please, please can they use the subtitle “Clash Harder” on that one?)