Prince of Persia doesn't pop at box office

$200 million big-budget production of Ubisoft game takes in only $37.8 million over three-day holiday weekend.

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The big-screen version of Ubisoft and Disney's Prince of Persia bombed at the box office over the weekend, pulling in $37.8 million in the US and Canada--hardly a princely sum for a film with an estimated $200 million budget. According to the Los Angeles Times, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time finished third in an altogether anemic Memorial Day box-office weekend, in which the four-day window saw ticket sales of $186 million--the lowest since 2001.

The LA Times reports that overall ticket sales during the weekend were 23.4 million--as tabulated by Hollywood.com--the lowest tally since 1993. The period's top performer was Shrek Forever After, which augmented its opening haul of $71.3 million with an additional $55.7 million. Sex and the City 2, the second film based on the Sarah Jessica Parker-led HBO series, brought in $51.4 million following its Thursday bow.

The prince resembled more of a pauper at the box office last weekend.
The prince resembled more of a pauper at the box office last weekend.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as parkour-enthused Prince Dastan, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced film approximately follows 2003's Ubisoft-developed action adventure of the same name. Directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Donnie Brasco), the film features a script coauthored by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner.

Prince of Persia's tepid opening does not portend well for Ubisoft's expectations for the franchise's celluloid aspirations. In November, CEO Yves Guillemot estimated that the film franchise could trump that of Disney and Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean films, the first three of which had brought in $2.7 billion dollars at the time.

Bruckheimer's magic touch has not extended to Prince of Persia, however. The LA Times notes that Prince of Persia's opening is the worst for a big-budget picture on Memorial Day since DreamWorks' animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron in 2002. However, the film has enjoyed a measure of international success, grossing $87.5 million across the 19 territories in which it was playing through the weekend.

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