Robin Hood: Box Office Robber Baron?

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Robin Hood

The early reviews have been mixed for Robin Hood, with some critics questioning the look and chronology of the sprawling thriller which just opened the Cannes Film Festival. Now there’s speculation as to how Nottingham will fare at the weekend box office.

Set well before the conventional Robin Hood storyline begins, there’s less thieving in the forest to be found in this Robin Hood than rallying of the British troops, in fighting back against the invading French army. Some have said the action seems more like the battlefields of Braveheart than anything resembling Sherwood Forest.

The day after the first reviews were published, there was also the controversy surrounding the is-it-British-or-is-it-Irish accent sported by Russell Crowe – who stormed out of an interview with the BBC after he was questioned about his character’s heritage.

But the biggest thing throwing Robin Hood’s profitability into question might be Crowe’s personal box office history. With a production budget reportedly around $200 million ($237 million before tax rebates), Robin Hood would have to defy all previous Crowe efforts to break even. The actor’s biggest haul to date was Gladiator, which brought in $187 million domestically, followed by A Beautiful Mind, at $170 million.

But in the last few years, the running totals have plummeted. State of Play netted only $37 million, and Body of Lies reaped $39 million.

Despite all the hype and red carpets – and radio outbursts – is it possible that Robin Hood, one of the most recognizable franchises on the planets, could fall flat at American theaters this weekend?

For photos of Robin Hood through the ages, click here.