June 3, 2008

Box Office Update 5/30-6/1: Sex and the City Climbs to the Top

Surprising analysts all over the 'net, Sex and the City defied expectations and unseated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was entering its second weekend. It had been expected that the Harrison Ford adventure would retain the top spot in its second weekend, while the television show turned movie would do strongly among women but trail when the final tallies came in. That, obviously, did not happen. Well, Sex and the City still proved to be the top draw for women, but they turned out in numbers larger than expected. I cannot lie, I am not a woman, yet I added a few bucks to the coffer when I paid my dues and took my ticket. What will be interesting is to see what kind of legs the film has.

It appears that the strong start for Sex will be very front loaded and drop off steeply in the coming weeks. This will be partly due to it not receiving great reviews, and partly because most who were interested in seeing it will have likely done so in the opening weekend. The drop off is already being seen as it last both Saturday and Sunday to Indiana Jones, it's exceptional Friday gross keeping it afloat for the weekend victory.

There was one other new film opening wide this weekend, the thriller called The Strangers. Here is a movie that was originally set to open last August, but kept getting bumped back until it landed on this weekend. It was expected to open decently, but it surprised most by taking in more than $20 million. Now, I suspect that it, like Sex and the City, will be front-loaded and will quickly drop off. This suspicion is based on the anecdotal evidence of disappointed patrons at the screening I went to, combined with less than stellar reviews, and the fact that it is a horror/thriller, this genre does not tend to stay at the top for very long.

Among the rest of the returning films, Iron Man continues to show strong legs and looks to be nearly a lock to cross the $300 million barrier. This has to be seen as a huge success, it is also a good example of a good movie finding an audience and benefitting from positive word of mouth. Also continuing to have solid showings are What Happens in Vegas, which seems to fly in the face of a good movie finding an audience, and Baby Mama, which is a decent but wholly mediocre film.

None of the week's films suffered large losses, although one of them is being seen as a big disappointment. That film is The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which may be a victim of a release date sandwiched between Iron Man and Indiana Jones. Well, that and the fact that I did not find the film to be all that good in the first place. Anyway, it would have likely done better had they stuck to a Christmas open like the first film.

Next week will see new competition from Kung Fu Panda, which will likely capture the family audience and run away with the top spot, and Don't Mess With the Zohan, the new Sandler film that is sure to ensnare the teen audience and make its own sprint to the top.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: The Visitor (11) and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (12).

Figures are studio estimates, figures have been delayed due to the holiday.
This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NSex and the City$56,848,056$56,848,0561
21Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull$44,754,615$215,635,8992
3NThe Strangers$20,997,985$20,997,9851
43Iron Man$13,541,264$276,166,3365
52The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian$12,704,545$115,362,7253
64What Happens in Vegas$6,681,097$65,904,9714
75Speed Racer$2,259,031$40,677,3714
86Baby Mama$2,194,320$56,117,8056
97Made of Honor$1,913,035$42,878,3545
108Forgetting Sarah Marshall$1,059,840$60,485,9807

Box Office Predictions Recap
What a mess this weekend turned out to be. I was only able to get one place correct, and that was tenth where Forgetting Sarah Marshall hung on. I was pretty much dead wrong on the rest of the field. My biggest box office guesstimation offense was not picking Sex and the City first, and way underestimating it's take by well over $20 million. Goes to show what I know, right? You win some, you lose some. Hopefully I will be able to bounce back next week.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
21Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull$44,754,615$48 million
12Sex and the City$56,848,056$32 million
53The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian$12,704,545$14 million
34The Strangers$20,997,985$12 million

Iron Man

$13,541,264$10 million
66What Happens in Vegas$6,681,097$5 million
97Made of Honor$1,913,035$2 million
88Baby Mama$2,194,320$2 million
79Speed Racer$2,259,031$1.5 million
1010Forgetting Sarah Marshall$1,059,840$.75 million


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