Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

May 5, 2008

Roman Polanski got in a lot of trouble for something similar.

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Just Imagine What Iron Spider-Pig-Man Would Have Made

Kim Hollis: Iron Man, Marvel's first self-financed comic book adaptation, grossed an estimated $100.75 million from Friday to Sunday with a total of $104.25 million including Thursday evening sneaks. In terms of shocking blockbuster performances, where would you rank this?

Reagen Sulewski: Shocking in what context? If you'd said three years ago that an Iron Man movie would open to this amount, it would have counted as a shock. Once we started seeing footage of it, any of that shock just became reasonable expectations. It outpaced what I thought it would do by about 10%, but that's just static in the system at these size of numbers.

David Mumpower: You don't find it surprising that the first film of a relatively unknown comic book hero has dramatically outperformed sequels to Spider-Man ($88.1 million), X-Men ($85.6 million) and Fantastic Four ($58.1 million)?

Reagen Sulewski: Like I said, not after we got footage of it. Spider-Man, and to a lesser extent, X-Men and the others had a built-in audience that could be counted on more, but you can sell the heck out of anything if you have the right footage to show. As soon as I saw that Comic-con leaked trailer, I pencilled it in for 80+ opening weekend.

Basically, what I'm saying is, we just witnessed the template for elevating any character into a world beater before our very eyes. Everyone copy Jon Favreau, please.


Tim Briody: As your Friday numbers guy, I'm mostly shocked at its internal multiplier right now. This just shouldn't be possible, but I suppose that's what 4,000 screens and absolutely unbelievable word-of-mouth will get you.

Pete Kilmer: While not an "A" List character like Batman, Superman, Spider-man, or having the name recognition of "X-Men"...people know who Iron Man is. So I don't totally agree that he's a relatively unknown character, like Blade was. He's certainly a B-list character that was a risk to be a lead movie character, but he's a character that does have some awareness to him. People remembered him. They may not have remembered that he's Tony Stark and what Iron Man can do with his suit, but they know about him. Throw in Robert Downey Jr. as the character and some stellar trailers and people remember the character. I mean, my and women in my gym were talking about it over the last couple of weeks.

Joel Corcoran: I'm going to step out a bit and admit that I was rather stunned at the box office performance of Iron Man. Yes, the trailers and marketing campaign were great. Yes, the character of Iron Man has some pop culture salience and appeal. I thought it would have a strong opening, but to earn the second-highest grossing opening weekend among movies that aren't sequels? On the first weekend in May? Unbelieveable. And completely unexpected. Especially at a time when the overall year-to-date box office is down over 5% compared to last year.

Kim Hollis: I think there has to be some level of "wow" here. This character is not one who is generally known to non-comic book readers, in my opinion. However, when Universal realized it had a genuinely great film on its hands, it was able to really ratchet up the marketing and show extreme confidence in the product. What a terrific story to start the summer season.

David Mumpower: I disagree with the notion that Iron Man is a known comic book character to the average movie goer. In point of fact, I had to explain exactly who he is to a couple of friends over the past week. The humorous result of the discussions is that both people said, "Oh, he's like Batman!" Given that, I guess a Batman result shouldn't be that surprising. Of course, Batman Begins opened to $44 million. Iron Man is the second largest non-sequel opening of all-time behind only Spider-Man six years ago this weekend. Simply put, we do not have enough superlatives in our lexicon to lavish praise upon this performance. It's exemplary.

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