Daily Box Office Analysis for June 18, 2008
Iron Man crosses $300 million milestone
By David Mumpower
June 19, 2008

Is there anything Iron Man cannot do?

Day six for The Incredible Hulk brings much better news than the previous two days had. We have been monitoring the behavior between the 2008 Ed Norton release and its 2003 Ang Lee/Eric Bana predecessor. After yesterday's column went live, I realized I had not put in the most discouraging piece of data about the 2008 film. Its Tuesday performance of $4,801,850 represents 30.9% of its Sunday total of $15,562,200. The concern here is that it is less than The Hulk's 31.1% total of $5.07 million on Tuesday after earning $16.305 million on Sunday. If we accept going in that The Hulk had some of the worst word-of-mouth and box office legs of any title to that point, The Incredible Hulk should be smoking it in terms of percentage holdover. The fact that it has failed to do that so far is cause for alarm, but the news did get slightly better yesterday.

The Incredible Hulk accrued $4,503,925 yesterday, a decline of 6.2% from its Tuesday total of $4,801,850. The Hulk fell off 14.1% from $5.07 million to $4.355 million in the same time frame, meaning two things. The first is that The Incredible Hulk's Wednesday total is a better holdover from both its Sunday number (28.9%) than The Hulk's (26.7%). The second is that despite what happened on Tuesday, which is still alarming, The Incredible Hulk has already passed The Hulk in terms of weekday comparisons. It has earned roughly $150,000 more on Wednesday than its predecessor did. Marvel Studios is left holding their breath that this continues.

The concern they are facing right now is that The Incredible Hulk does still have the second steepest drop of any title in the top ten. This is certainly to be expected to a degree from titles in their first week of release, but the fact that only one other film was down even 1% from Tuesday is still cause for concern. When 80% of the top ten is going up or staying the same and you're going down, your situation is not that positive.

Given that I don't want to be too negative about what we are experiencing here, I thought for a moment how I could show that there is cause to believe that the glass is half-full. The answer lies in the fact that The Incredible Hulk's first three weekdays have accumulated $15,316,180 worth of receipts. The Hulk's first three weekdays had combined box office receipts of $15.537 million. So, the next film is roughly $220,000 behind the old film. If we compare each title in terms of percentage holdover to its opening weekend result, however, the picture grows rosier for Hulk fans. The 2003 title's first three weekdays were almost exactly 25% of its weekend debut. The 2008 title is holding up a bit better in this regard. $15,316,180 is 27.6% of its first frame total. It isn't holding up as well as we had all hoped, though. Somewhat better than disastrous is not what Marvel was aspiring to get in terms of sales on this project.

Of course, if the producers of The Incredible Hulk need some cheering up, they can take solace in the fact that at least they aren't involved with The Happening. M. Night Shyamalan's Folly experiences the only double digit drop in the top 10, falling 10.8% from $2,450,829 on Tuesday to $2,185,793 on Wednesday. If it falls another 10% tomorrow, it will already be under $2 million in its first week of release. All signs point to a mega-steep drop this weekend as well as a quick exit from theaters. At $38,285,118, this title has already made over half of its money and it's probably much worse than that before this is all said and done.

The other big news in the top ten yesterday is that Iron Man's $723,320 allowed it to creep over the $300 million mark in terms of domestic receipts. In the process, it becomes the 27th release to accomplish this remarkable achievement. It should surpass Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Independence Day by this time next week, thereby earning a spot in the top 25. And the way it is holding over each weekend (the film dropped less than 25% last frame), it has a chance to get much higher on the list. The difference between #27 and #13 is only $41.7 million. I'm not saying Iron Man will reach those heights, but I also cannot rule anything out. Its performance yesterday represents a drop of only 16% (!) from last Wednesday's total of $857,937. This thing is the energizer bunny.

Box office for the top ten on Wednesday had combined receipts of $18,035,649, down only 2.2% from Tuesday's total of $18,447,962. It was a great day at the box office yesterday for everything that wasn't brand new. The Wednesday total is easily the best of June, 7.0% better than last Wednesday's $16,847,289 and 22.2% better than the first Wednesday of the month's $14,759,274.