May 20, 2008

Box Office Update 5/16-5/18: Prince Caspian Takes Down Iron Man

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian easily won the weekend, yet is already being considered a failure. How can this be? The movie made more than $55 million, right? It has received generally good notice, and fans seem to have enjoyed it (except for me, that is), so how can it already be thought of as a failure? Easy. The suits were expecting this to open north of $70 million, and considering it fell short by $20 million, including $10 million shy of the originals open, the warning signs have had an impact on the studio. Following the collapse of Speed Racer last week, the signs for the coming summer season do not look good. Of course, you could always look to the success of Iron Man to gauge the rest of the summer outlook.

Speaking of Iron Man, it took in another $31 million as it cruised by the $200 million mark and has a shot at making the triple century mark. This is a great example of a quality movie that hit at the right time. The box office was slumping in the weeks leading to its release, so when it arrived movie lovers who were movie starved had something to cheer for. Fortunately, the movie came out firing on all cylinders, thus kicking off a new superhero franchise. The movie really is good and is well deserving of the attention it has received.

There were no other wide releases after Prince Caspian this weekend. This lack of added mid-level competition means the rest of the returning films were alone to duke it out. Overall, the films demonstrated pretty strong holds from last week. That is with the exception of Speed Racer, which is turning out to be a box office disaster, it fell more than 56% from last week and looks to be making a quick exit from theaters. Warner Brothers will have to look to DVD to attempt to recoup its losses from the theatrical release.

On the positive side, Baby Mama and Forgetting Sarah Marshall led the pack with the smallest audience drops from last week. I am particularly happy about Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the R rated romantic comedy that delivers on what it promises and proves to be very funny and very touching at the same time.

Next week will see competition from the new Indiana Jones adventure, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This will surely be the top draw of the holiday weekend.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: Nim's Island (11) and Prom Night (13).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NThe Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian$55,034,805$55,034,8051
21Iron Man$31,838,996$223,124,3853
32What Happens in Vegas$13,883,874$40,341,5162
43Speed Racer$8,117,459$30,284,0732
54Made of Honor$4,702,950$33,903,5193
65Baby Mama$4,680,610$47,343,2554
76Forgetting Sarah Marshall$2,786,220$55,313,4055
87Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay$1,997,450$34,098,3894
98The Forbidden Kingdom$1,000,000$50,295,0005
1013The Visitor$672,448$3,388,8216

Box Office Predictions Recap
So close and yet so far. I had the top nine positions nailed, but failed to lock down the entire top ten. I did not expect The Visitor to jump up quite so high. Combine that fact with my not knowing that Nim's Island was dropping so many theaters and you have a recipe for disaster. That faux pas notwithstanding, my biggest goof was buying into how well Prince Caspian was tracking. Originally I had it pegged for about $60 million, but believing the inflated expectations combined with last week's failure of Speed Racer to deliver had me believing it would top off higher. Oh well, there's always next week.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian$55,034,805$78 million
22Iron Man$31,838,996$28 million
33What Happens in Vegas$13,883,874$13 million
44Speed Racer$8,117,459$9 million

Made of Honor

$4,702,950$5 million
66Baby Mama$4,680,610$4 million
77Forgetting Sarah Marshall$2,786,220$2.5 million
88Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay$1,997,450$2 million
99The Forbidden Kingdom$1,000,000$1.25 million
1110Nim's Island$588,856$1 million


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