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Saturday, May 31, 2008

'Sex and the City' pulls in $26.1m opening day

Thanks to a massive media blitz leading up to its opening on Friday, New Line/HBO's Sex and the City posted an eye-popping $26.1 million opening day on Friday, crushing estimates and smoking last week's blockbuster champion Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, who posted just $12.2 million over its sophomore Friday. If things continue at this pace look for Sex in the City to post a gargantuan $70+ million opening weekend, compared to a painful 60+% drop for Indy IV.

Monday, May 26, 2008

'Indy IV' rakes in $151.1m in first five days, May 23-26, 2008

Finally putting to rest the idea that Harrison Ford was old to pull off an action-adventure flick, or that the revival of Indiana Jones was about ten years too late, Steven Spielberg's long awaited sequel Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull dominated the Memorial Day holiday weekend, grossing more than the rest of the marketplace combined.

Earning $126 million over the four-day holiday weekend (Friday-Monday), and a staggering $151.1 million since its launch on Thursday, the Harrison Ford starrer became the tenth biggest 3-day opening of all-time ($101 million over Friday-Sunday), and sixth biggest 5-day opening ever. It was also the second largest Memorial Day weekend bow in history, behind only Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with $139.8 million.

Playing in an ultrawide 4,260 theaters, the $185 million budgeted Paramount-LucasFilms release averaged a sizzling $23,709 over the Friday-Sunday portion of the weekend, and saw a hefty 19% spike in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday ($31m up to $37m), a good sign for the film's summer longevity. Reviews for the film were mixed, but mostly positive.

Internationally Indy IV was even better, pulling in $160 million since its launch on Wednesday. That puts the film's six-day worldwide take at a ridiculous $311 million.

Still, the monumental Memorial Day opening didn't seem to lift the rest of the marketplace, as the box office posted its worst Memorial Day weekend in five years. Part of the reason was the steep sophomore frame decline of what was an already disappointing debut last week for Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which stumbled 58% over the three-day portion of the weekend to $28.6 million in second.

In eleven days the $200 million budgeted fantasy sequel has grossed a lackluster $91 million, which puts it on pace to finish with a North American total of under $150 million. 2005's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe took in $291 million back in 2005. The numbers put into serious doubt whether Disney has found its cash cow fantasy franchise to rival Warner's Harry Potter and New Line's Lord of the Rings.

Iron Man, the biggest hit of 2008, slipped just 36% to $20.1 million over Friday-Sunday and $25.7 million over the four-day frame, pushing its four week cume to a lofty $257.8 million. That easily puts the film on track to break $300 million domestically, delivering to Marvel Studios an incredible start to a bona fide megahit franchise.

Despite the strength of Indy IV and a nice hold from Iron Man, the weakness from Prince Caspian gave the top ten a $212 million four-day cume, down 13% from last year's comparable frame when Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End set sail with a record $139.8 million. It was down 8% from 2006 when X-Men: The Last Stand debuted in the top spot with $102.8 million.

As for our last poll, it looks like the majority of you thought, correctly, that Indy IV would gross close to or over $100 million this weekend. Nice work for everyone who guessed $100+ million, I thought Indy would come in around $85-90 million over the Friday-Sunday portion for the weekend, and $125 million in its first five days.

Be sure to enter your guesses for this coming weekend in our new poll!

The numbers, May 23-26, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $126,040,000 4,260 $29,587 $151,120,000 -- 1 Paramount
2 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $28,642,000 3,929 $7,290 $96,687,000 -48.0 2 Buena Vista
3 Iron Man $25,650,000 3,915 $6,552 $257,818,000 -19.4 4 Paramount
4 What Happens in Vegas $11,150,000 3,188 $3,497 $56,400,000 -19.7 3 Fox
5 Speed Racer $5,205,000 3,112 $1,673 $37,400,000 -35.9 3 Warner Bros.
6 Baby Mama $4,210,000 2,158 $1,951 $53,000,000 -10.1 5 Universal
7 Made of Honor $4,200,000 2,393 $1,755 $39,861,000 -10.7 4 Sony
8 Forgetting Sarah Marshall $2,200,000 1,078 $2,041 $58,700,000 -21.0 6 Universal
9 Harold & Kumar Escape From... $1,200,000 750 $1,600 $36,200,000 -39.9 5 New Line
10 The Visitor $917,000 270 $3,396 $4,568,225 36.4 6 Overture

Sunday, May 25, 2008

'Indy IV' tops $100m over Memorial Day weekend

If estimates hold, it looks like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has broken past the $100 million mark over the Friday-Sunday portion of the Memorial Day weekend, putting up $126 million since its Wednesday release date. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this fourth offering in the Indiana Jones pantheon averaged an incredible $23,708 in 4,260 theaters. Budgeted at $185 million, the Harrison Ford starrer looks on pace to be one of the year's biggest blockbusters.

On the flip side, Disney's megabudget fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian fell a whopping 58% this weekend, thanks to heavy competition and presumably lukewarm word of mouth. The $200 million budgeted epic took in just $23 million in its sophomore frame, compared with a 51% drop and a $31.8 million second weekend for its predecessor The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In ten days, the Disney release has grossed $91 million, compared to $113 million for its 2005 predecessor over the same period.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spotlight: Speed Racer (2008)

Warner put up $120 million to finance the Wachowski Bros.' big screen adaptation of the campy TV anime favorite, and another $150 million to market the visual effects extravaganza. Their payoff thus far? A whopping $30.2 million domestic and $24.6 million overseas, giving the Emile Hirsh-Christina Ricci starrer a whopping $54.8 million worldwide take since its debut on May 9th, and probably a few canned producers in the process.

Easily the biggest flop of 2008 thus far, the film suffered from a horrible marketing campaign, poor reviews (34% recommendation rating on Rottentomatoes.com), no A-list stars and a strong sophomore frame from blockbuster Iron Man. But perhaps Warner's biggest failure was in trying to decide what demographic the film was supposed target. Older fans of the anime were turned off by the Spy Kids meets Mario Kart visual elements, teens didn't get the super campy factor, which left little kiddies and their parents, many of whom were reluctant to plop down their hard-earned cash for the distinct possibility of motion sickness.

Sputtering at the starting gate with $18.5 million over its opening weekend the debut failed to beat even Fox's low-budget romantic comedy offering What Happens in Vegas, which captured the No. 2 spot with $20.17 million in its debut. Now that the summer season is in full swing (Narnia: Prince Caspian opened this past weekend while Indy IV swings into theaters this weekend), look for Speed Racer to quickly tumble out of the top ten, grossing less than $40 million domestically.

Budget: $120m
Marketing Budget: $150m
Opening weekend: $18.5m
Domestic Gross: $30.2m
International Gross: $24.6m

source(s): boxofficemojo.com, einsiders.com

Sunday, May 18, 2008

'Prince Caspian' disappoints with $56.6m, May 16-18, 2008

Could it be that the oversaturated children's fantasy genre has finally begun to affect the box office performance of the heavyweights? Despite knocking off two-week champ Iron Man from its dominant perch, Disney's mega-budget fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian failed to live up to even the most conservative expectations, debuting in the top spot with a disappointing $56.6 million.

Rumored to have carried a budget of nearly $200 million (the first Narnia cost $180 million), Disney's supposedly surefire juggernaut failed to match even its predecessor's opening weekend numbers on a weekend usually considered one of the most lucrative of the summer season. Released in December 2005, The Chronicles of Narnia gave Disney a franchise starter to compete against Warner's Harry Potter, opening with $65.6 million on its way to a jaw-dropping $291.7 million domestic and $744 million worldwide. Averaging $14,399 from 3,929 theaters, the underwhelming opening helped turn the normally potent frame into the worst pre-Memorial Day weekend in seven years.

With most industry estimates forecasting a debut in the range of $75-85 million, execs at Disney were left scratching their heads at the numbers coming in this morning. While reviews were generally positive (71% recommended on Rottentomatoes.com vs. 75% for 2005's Narnia), it was the empty weekend and massive marketing push that had most analysts projecting a handsome payoff this weekend. Perhaps the most foreboding sign for Prince Caspian came late last year when New Line's equally pricey fantasy venture The Golden Compass flopped with a $25.7 million opening and $70 million total haul, essentially crippling the now defunct New Line Studios for good. Still, with a 5% uptick in sales from Friday to Saturday ($19.3m to $20.3m), word of mouth could keep the film performing solidly throughout May-June.

As if the news weren't bad enough Disney's next Narnia adventure, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has already been slated for a May 7th, 2010 opening. And guess what is opening one week ahead of it? Marvel Studios' Iron Man 2 on April 30th.

Speaking of Iron Man, the superhero juggernaut continued to rocket its way to history, falling just 39% to an estimated $31.2 million this weekend. In just 17 days, the $140 million budgeted production has amassed $222.5 million, already making the Robert Downey Jr. starrer the seventh highest grossing superhero pic of all-time. This weekend it surged ahead of 2003's X2: X-Men United with $214.9m and 2005's Batman Begins with $205.3m. At its current pace the film could reach $275 million domestically, which would make it the fourth highest grossing superhero film ever, behind only Spider-Mans 1,2 and 3.

Falling one spot to third was Ashton Kutcher's and Cameron Diaz's romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas, which slipped just 31% to $13.9 million. The $35 million budgeted Fox pic has now amassed $40.3 million in ten days, and should wind up with an impressive $75 million domestically.

Sputtering out in its sophomore frame with a 59% drop was Warner's Speed Racer, which earned just $7.6 million this weekend. In ten days the $120 million budgeted Wachowski Bros. flick has accumulated just $29.8 million, making the film the first bona fide flop of 2008.

Thanks to a underwhelming bow from Prince Caspian, the top ten films grossed an estimated $124.4 million, down a steep 27% from last year's comparable frame when Shrek the Third exploded to the top spot with $121.6 million.

The numbers, May 16-18, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $56,573,000 3,929 $14,399 $56,573,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
2 Iron Man $31,200,000 4,154 $7,511 $222,485,000 -39.1 3 Paramount
3 What Happens in Vegas $13,850,000 3,255 $4,255 $40,308,000 -31.3 2 Fox
4 Speed Racer $7,640,000 3,606 $2,119 $29,807,000 -58.8 2 Warner Bros.
5 Baby Mama $4,590,000 2,503 $1,834 $47,253,000 -26.3 4 Universal
6 Made of Honor $4,500,000 2,816 $1,598 $33,701,000 -44.6 3 Sony
7 Forgetting Sarah Marshall $2,540,000 1,601 $1,587 $55,067,000 -33.8 5 Universal
8 Harold & Kumar Escape From... $1,800,000 1,403 $1,283 $33,901,000 -42.1 4 New Line
9 The Forbidden Kingdom $997,000 997 $1,000 $50,300,000 -54.0 5 Lionsgate
10 The Visitor $687,000 224 $3,067 $3,403,000 -5.8 6 Overture

Sunday, May 11, 2008

'Iron Man' dominates with $50.5m, 'Speed Racer' sputters, May 9-11, 2008

For the second straight weekend Marvel-Paramount's blockbuster Iron Man dominated the box office, earning nearly as much as the rest of the top five combined. The $140m budgeted superhero pic fell an estimated 49% to $50.5 million in its sophomore frame, with some of its business taken away from the lackluster debut of Warner Bros.' Speed Racer with $20 million. Still, the hold in its second week of release was far stronger than last year's Spider-Man 3, which fell 60% from its record $151 million debut.

In eleven days of release (including Thursday night previews), the Robert Downey Jr. starrer has amassed $177.1 million, already making it the highest grossing film released in 2008. The mark had been previously held by Fox/Blue Sky Studios' Horton Hears A Who with $150.7 million.

Though not necessarily considered a top-tier comic book superhero, Iron Man has already vaulted itself to #13 on the all-time list of comic book adaptations, wedged between Batman Returns and Batman Forever. And the Marvel Studio production has experienced the fastest start of any comic adaptation not titled Spider-Man. Even with big competitors on the horizon including Narnia: Prince Caspian next weekend and Indy IV the week after, look for Iron Man to become the fourth highest comic book adaptation of all-time, ahead of 1989's Batman with $252.1m, and behind only Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3.

The Wachowski Brothers saw their big budget anime film adaptation Speed Racer disappoint out of the gate with $20.2 million this weekend, finishing in the No. 2 spot with a $5,605 average in a wide 3,606 theaters. Though the film wasn't tracking particularly well industry analysts had predicted the debut to land in the $30 million range.

Universally panned by critics (just a 35% recommendation rating on Rottentomatoes.com), the film suffered largely from its over-the-top marketing, which seemed unable to decide just what demographic it was after. Older fans of the anime series were turned off by the film's seemingly Spy Kids-on-acid look and feel, 18-24 y/o's likely passed on the extraordinarily campy style, which left the film's target audience as parents with younger kids. That core will likely vanish next weekend when Disney's behemoth Narnia: Prince Caspian enters theaters. Rumored to be carrying a budget of "well over $100 million," the Warner release should be an early candidate for biggest flop of the summer.

Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher's romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas took the third spot according to estimates with $20 million, averaging a solid $6,221 in 3,215 theaters. The film was Cameron Diaz's biggest non-animated debut since 2003's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle with $37.6 million, and Kutcher's best since 2005's Guess Who opened with $20.6 million. Reviews were mostly negative.

Expanding from a limited release run last weekend, Sony Classics' mixed martial arts drama Redbelt finished in the No. 10 slot with $1.1 million, averaging an extremely weak $827 in 1,379 theaters. Written and directed by David Mamet, look for the film to bow out with barely $3 million total.

Thanks to a strong sophomore frame from Marvel's Iron Man, the top ten films grossed an estimated $115.4 million, up 24% from last year's comparable frame when Spider-Man 3 slipped over 60% to $58.2 million. It was up an even heftier 43% from 2006 when Mission: Impossible III held the No. 1 spot with a $25 million seond weekend.

The numbers, May 9-11, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Iron Man $50,500,000 4,111 $12,284 $177,134,000 -48.8 2 Paramount
2 Speed Racer $20,210,000 3,606 $5,605 $20,210,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
3 What Happens in Vegas $20,000,000 3,215 $6,221 $20,000,000 -- 1 Fox
4 Made of Honor $7,600,000 2,734 $2,780 $26,275,000 -48.5 2 Sony
5 Baby Mama $5,770,000 2,627 $2,196 $40,381,000 -42.7 3 Universal
6 Forgetting Sarah Marshall $3,778,000 2,376 $1,590 $50,723,000 -37.7 4 Universal
7 Harold & Kumar Escape From... $3,155,000 2,264 $1,394 $30,716,000 -48.4 3 New Line
8 The Forbidden Kingdom $1,900,000 1,724 $1,102 $48,261,000 -54.6 4 Lionsgate
9 Nim's Island $1,325,000 1,601 $828 $44,257,000 -50.5 6 Fox
10 Redbelt $1,140,000 1,379 $827 $1,237,000 -- 2 Sony Classics

Sunday, May 4, 2008

'Iron Man' posts massive $100m opening weekend, May 2-4, 2008

After one of the driest springs in recent box office history all it took was a man in an iron suit to jump start the marketplace into the summer season, as Paramount and Marvel Studios' big budget superhero pic Iron Man rocketed to the top spot with an estimated $100.8 million this weekend, posting the tenth largest opening of all-time and second largest non-sequel opening ever (2002's Spider-Man still holds the record with $114.8m).

Crushing most industry-wide expectations for a $70-85 million debut, the $140 million budgeted action-adventure (with some rumors putting it at $180 million) posted a massive $24,543 average in 4,105 theaters. It is the first picture financed through Marvel's newly formed film studio Marvel Studios. Paramount acted only as the film's distributor, much in the same fashion as Lucasfilm Ltd and Fox Studios handled the Star Wars prequels. Universal Studios will handle similar distribution duties for Marvel's upcoming The Incredible Hulk (June 13th).

Much has been written about Paramount and Marvel using its marketing campaign to transform star Robert Downey Jr. into a big budget leading man, and the gamble appears to have paid off. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive (94% on Rottentomatoes.com, making it their highest rated superhero film of all-time), and audience awareness for film -- based on the popular but not necessarily mainstream superhero -- was very high. Co-starring Jeff Bridges, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Terrence Howard, the Jon Favreau-directed blockbuster also took in $96.8 million in 57 international territories, pushing its global debut to an eye-popping $201 million.

Pulling in $35.1 million on its opening day (including Thursday night previews), the film saw a 7% increase in ticket sales on Saturday, indicating very strong word of mouth, particularly for a superhero pic. It is the second biggest debut in the Marvel franchise behind only Spider-Man, and rumors are that a second and third Iron Man film are already in the pipeline. For Paramount, which acted only as the film's distributor, Iron Man was the studio's second largest debut ever behind only last May's Shrek the Third with $121.6 million.

With a lineup of films (Prince Caspian, Indy IV) most likely weaker than last May's triumvirate of Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3, look for Iron Man to dominate the month of May, potentially propelling itself into the $300 million club.

Debuting in second was Sony's counter-programming romantic comedy Made of Honor, which debuted with an estimated $15.5 million this weekend. Starring Patrick Dempsey, the $40 million budgeted pic averaged a solid $5,680 from 2,729 theaters. Reviews were largely brutal.

Last week's champ Baby Mama fell just 41% this weekend to $10.3 million despite the heavy competition, pushing its ten-day take to $32.3 million. Look for the Universal comedy to finish with over $50 million domestically. The studio's other comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall fell 44% to $6.1 million, pushing its cume to $44.8 million.

New Line's comedy Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay fell a nasty 60% in its sophomore frame to $6 million, pushing its ten-day take to $25.3 million. Budgeted at a modest $12 million, the film has already surpassed the entire gross of the original Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, which finished with $18.2 million back in 2004.

Thanks to Iron Man's massive debut (which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the entire box office), the top ten films grossed an estimated $151.9 million, down 15% from last year's comparable frame when Spider-Man 3 shattered records with $151.1 million, but up 62% from 2006 when MI: III topped with $47.7 million.

The numbers, May 2-4, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Iron Man $100,750,000 4,105 $24,543 $104,250,000 -- 1 Paramount
2 Made of Honor $15,500,000 2,729 $5,680 $15,500,000 -- 1 Sony
3 Baby Mama $10,332,000 2,548 $4,055 $32,329,000 -40.6 2 Universal
4 Forgetting Sarah Marshall $6,132,000 2,872 $2,135 $44,804,000 -44.4 3 Universal
5 Harold & Kumar Escape From... $6,015,000 2,545 $2,363 $25,270,000 -59.7 2 New Line
6 The Forbidden Kingdom $4,200,000 2,960 $1,419 $45,124,000 -62.5 3 Lionsgate
7 Nim's Island $2,750,000 2,478 $1,110 $42,544,000 -39.5 5 Fox
8 Prom Night $2,500,000 2,434 $1,027 $41,447,000 -44.5 4 Sony
9 21 $2,100,000 2,242 $937 $79,057,000 -47.7 6 Sony
10 88 Minutes $1,600,000 1,765 $907 $15,426,000 -55.5 3 Sony

Saturday, May 3, 2008

'Iron Man' rockets to top spot with $38m Opening Day

Big buzz, good reviews, and a soft lineup of competitors this weekend all led to a $38 million opening day total for Paramount's $180 million budgeted superhero pic Iron Man. The film earned $5.5 million in Thursday night sneak previews, and another $32.5 million on Friday. The Robert Downey Jr. starrer appears on pace for a $100+ million opening weekend. The film opened in an ultrawide 4,105 theaters.