By David Mumpower
July 1, 2009
As for the films themselves, we'll start with Ice Age. When the original film came out in March of 2002, an unnamed box office analyst (with the initials of D.M.) posted a monthly forecast estimating that Resident Evil would be the biggest film of the month. I was only off by $135 million or so. Ice Age's success caught everyone off guard when all of North America decided to watch Scrat try to capture an acorn. The $60 million production earned a whopping $383 million worldwide, making it one of the best movie investments of the decade. What was more impressive, however, was the performance of the similarly frugal Ice Age: The Meltdown. Its $80 million production cost garnered $650 million in worldwide box office, making it the 28th biggest worldwide hit at the time. It remains the 35th biggest global blockbuster today. The two Ice Age films in tandem have earned over a billion dollars in ticket sales. This is one of the largest franchises going today and big things have always been expected of the third film. Why?
This Ice Age movie has dinosaurs.
Sure, the others did as well, but it's right there in the title now. Ice Age is about to take a turn for the Jurassic Park, a meeting of box office juggernauts if ever there were one. Fox has been guaranteed a blockbuster ever since the project was announced. Even so, the trailer that shows Scrat falling in love while learning a valuable lesson about women in relationships might as well be a license to print money. Why then does this title feel a bit outshined? Presumably, it's because Transformers: Rise of the Fallen, the $200 million tentpole title, has been in theaters only seven days. The buzz from it is silencing a lot of talk about the next major kiddie film and while it's accurate to say that Ice Age skews even younger, there is some intersection here. That's the primary reason I am not expecting Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs to surpass the $75.6 million five-day total of Ice Age: The Meltdown. I expect a Wednesday-to-Thursday tally in the $18 million range followed by a weekend total of around $54 million, giving this a Wednesday-to-Sunday result of $72 million.
While you may experience some difficulty getting excited about another Ice Age film, the other major release this week should have your interest. Public Enemies is a gangster era crime flick starring Batman and Jack Sparrow plus that French chick who recently won a Best Actress Oscar. As far as movie pedigrees go, this one is way up there. Up until a couple of months ago, some may have argued that the biggest name in this film is Christian Bale. He is, after all, the titular star of the second most successful movie of all time. Then, Terminator Salvation came out. Now, we have quite firmly established it's the cowl, not the man, who drove ticket sales on The Dark Knight. That puts the onus of making people want to see Public Enemies on Johnny Depp, just as always should have been the case.