May 13, 2008

Box Office Update 5/9-5/11: Iron Man Outraces Speed Racer

"I am Iron Man." With those fateful words the fate of a new franchise was sealed. Last weekend, Iron Man got the summer season off to a roaring start with a take approaching $100 million. This weekend it took in an impressive $51 million, pushing its gross north of $175 million. Next week will see it become the first film of 2008 to cross the $200 million mark. Its success is well deserved as it is a great comic book adaptation, and a wonderfully paced action film. It's success this week has kept it securely in the top spot; however, it will see much more potent competition next week. Just remember not to let new competition stop you from seeing it a second time. It deserves it.

Surprisingly, the second place movie is What Happens in Vegas and not the expected Speed Racer. Anyway, Vegas is just the next in the long line of forgettable romantic comedies. I will say that it is better than last week's Made of Honor, but that doesn't say much. It stars Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher as the mix-matched couple destined for, well, go see the movie if you don't already know how it ends. The genre is stagnant, and this doesn't help matters. I suspect it will be forgotten relatively quickly and soon be relegated to the cheap bins at retailers around the nation.

Speed Racer was expected to open somewhere between $30 and $40 million. Coming out of Sunday, the studio predicted just over $20 million, but the actuals revealed that it just barely squeaked past $18.5 million. With this disappointing opening weekend, visions of a new franchise have quickly dissipated. It is a shame, the movie is actually very enjoyable, it is like Willy Wonka's factory exploded onto the screen in a shower of kinetic energy. Yes, I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but the film induces that sort of a reaction. It is filled with a lot of flash and a little substance, easily inducing a child-like atmosphere. See it, enjoy it, tell your friends. I know, it is a hard sell, the advertising was rather weak, and the need questionable, but there is no arguing with the outcome.

Among the remaining returnees, the box office take was relatively flat, with only Prom Night suffering a dip north of 50%, ending with a total barely edging out the superior Redbelt for the anchor position. Forgetting Sarah Marshall showed the strongest hold, dipping just 36%. I must admit to being pleased with the performance of this one, it is funny, touching, and an all around excellent film.

Next week will see just one new entry to the national stage, and it is sure to be a big one (wait a minute, didn't I say that about Speed Racer last week?). The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is set to be unleashed, looking to unseat Iron Man and get the drop on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which opens on May 22nd.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: 21 (12) and 88 Minutes (15).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
11Iron Man$51,190,629$177,825,0242
2NWhat Happens in Vegas$20,172,474$20,172,4741
3NSpeed Racer$18,561,337$18,561,3371
42Made of Honor$8,116,323$26,791,4942
53Baby Mama$6,225,790$40,836,3703
65Forgetting Sarah Marshall$3,837,240$50,781,7454
74Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay$3,106,424$30,667,3083
86The Forbidden Kingdom$2,169,323$48,530,1044
97Nim's Island$1,463,622$44,395,8576
108Prom Night$1,012,986$42,785,1075

Box Office Predictions Recap
Well, I got a couple positions right and a bunch of my gross guesses were real close. That counts for something right? However, there is one glaring miscue in my guesstimates. While I was only off by one position, my gross prediction was rather gross. I sort of knew that the film was going to be a tough sell, but I still thought there would have been a good turnout for it, even if only for opening weekend. Speed Racer stumbled out of the blocks and failed to come anywhere near my prediction. Now, there is always next week.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11Iron Man$51,190,629$54 million
32Speed Racer$18,561,337$39 million
23What Happens in Vegas$20,172,474$17 million
44Made of Honor$8,116,323$8 million

Baby Mama

$6,225,790$6 million
66Forgetting Sarah Marshall$3,837,240$4.5 million
77Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay$3,106,424$3 million
88The Forbidden Kingdom$2,169,323$2.5 million
119Redbelt$1,012,435$2 million
910Nim's Island$1,463,622$1.5 million


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