By John Hamann
May 18, 2008
Where does Prince Caspian go from here? The oft-predicted $300 million figure is definitely out; in fact, $200 million is far from a sure thing. Several prominent publications have been discussing Caspian's finish prior to the opening, which is never, ever, a good idea. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe did gross $291.7 million after a $65 million start, but it debuted almost a month before Christmas, so it was able to repeat as the number one film four weekends into its run. Is that going to happen this time around? Not a chance, with Indiana Jones, Sex and the City and Kung Fu Panda hitting screens in the next few weekends. Prince Caspian is already established as a weaker-than-expected performer, and it will lose screens quickly to titles with more upside. Voyage of the Dawn Treader has its work cut out for it now.
Number two is Iron Man, as it slips from the number one spot it held for two weekends. Iron Man bounced back somewhat from its 50% drop last weekend, as it grossed $31.2 million, giving it a better 39% drop in its third frame. Iron Man crossed the $200 million mark on Friday, its 15th day of release, and will have a shot at $300 million if it can continue its upward trend of percentage drops. The Paramount/Marvel release should finish as the fourth biggest comic book movie, behind three Spider-Man flicks, but ahead of Batman's $250 million haul. Currently, Iron Man has pulled in $222.5 million, which puts Paramount is in a nice position. They will have both Indiana Jones and Iron Man in the top three next weekend, and then follow that up with Kung Fu Panda and The Love Guru before the end of June.
Third spot goes to What Happens in Vegas, as the Ashton Kutcher/Cameron Diaz flick is working as perfect counter-programming against the summer blockbusters. What Happens in Vegas earned a surprising $13.9 million, giving it a slimmer than expected drop of 31%. The comparably tiny $35 million dollar film is now a lock to gross more than Speed Racer, and currently sits at $40.3 million. This is also a nice surprise for Fox, given that their summer season doesn't really start until June 13th, when M Night Shyamalan's The Happening hits screens.
Fourth goes to the sad story of Speed Racer, as it continues to languish badly. Speed Racer grossed only $7.6 million, and was off a nasty 59% from its revised weekend total in the last frame of $18.5 million. Speed Racer has had a rough time of it, from a slow opening last Friday, to a poor weekend exacerbated by a sloppy and disingenuous estimate from its studio (Warner Bros.) to a brutal sophomore weekend. Remember, the production cost alone here was $120 million, and upwards to $250 million once production, marketing, and a huge print cost are tallied. Speed Racer will be lucky to reach $55 million, and is sure to go down as one of the bigger flops of the summer. So far, it has grossed a sad $29.8 million.