The Smurfs 2 opened to just over $18 million, around half of the first installment’s $35 first weekend box office tally, and there was much rejoicing in the decline. But despite the tepid domestic take, Sony Animation is sitting pretty. There’s already a third film slated for 2015, and that box office number is offset by $150 million that over 100 corporate partners ponied up to promote the film through licensing deals. With the production budget already covered, and overseas box office numbers undoubtedly destined to eclipse the domestic haul—the worldwide tally is already approaching $100 million—deals with McDonald’s, Walmart, Macy’s, Haribo, Capri Sun, and others will keep the Smurfs plastered all over the world for the foreseeable future, despite the abysmal film all that exposure promotes. This may be the only film all year that makes Man Of Steel’s egregious product placement look tame by comparison, and this one is specifically engineered to appeal to children.
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