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Sex Doesn't Sell, Persia is Prince Among Kings

June 2nd, 2010

May is over, and not a moment too soon. I remember at the beginning of last month that a lot of people were suggesting this was going to be the highest grossing summer of all time and that May was going to be the highest grossing month of all time. Since this summer is a weekend shorter than most and this missing weekend was at the beginning of May, this was never going to happen. However, now that the month is over, we can see just how unrealistic those predictions were. Even Memorial Day long weekend wasn't enough as the total box office take was $152 million over three days and $193 million over four. Compared to last week, this was up just over 1%. While any increase is welcome, this it hardly a reason to celebrate. Compared to last Memorial Day, this was down 14% over three days and 13% over four. Not good. Year-to-date, 2010 is still ahead of 2009, but the lead has been cut to 4.7% at $4.30 billion to $4.10 billion. Perhaps it's not quite time to hit the panic button, but I'm starting to do warm up exercises for when running around in a panic will be required.

Shrek Forever After remained in the top spot over the long weekend and it wasn't even a close race. This is partially because the film had a stronger than expected hold earning $43.31 million over three days and $57.06 million over four. However, this was also partially because the competition was much weaker than expected. So far the film has earned $146.81 million after just eleven days of release. On the one hand, this is still impressive. On the other hand, this is well below the pace set by the previous two films in the franchise. By this time next weekend, it might have fallen behind the pace of the original Shrek, despite this film having nearly a decade of inflation to boost its bottom line.

Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time can both lay claim to second place; it depends on whether you are talking about the three-day or the four-day weekend. Sex started out relatively well, with a Thursday debut of $14.21 million. However, it saw its daily numbers drop, quite dramatically at times, so over the three-day weekend it earned $31.00 million, while over four it managed $36.84 million. From Thursday to Monday it saw its daily box office haul slide by nearly 60%. Add in the terrible reviews, the Sequel Effect, the Fangirl Effect, and there's no way to sugarcoat its future. Despite earning $51.04 million during its first five days of release, there's only a little hope that it will get to $100 million in total.

Next up was Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, which pulled in $30.10 million over the three-day weekend, which was enough for third place. However, it did show better legs as the weekend wore on, and over four days it earned second place with $37.81 million. This is still not nearly enough for a film that cost $150 million to make. With reviews that are barely adequate for a genre not known for its high quality, there's little hope for long legs and $100 million domestically is likely out of the question. Therefore, unless it overperforms internationally, it will have a hard time breaking even any time soon.

The biggest hit of the summer, at least so far, remains Iron Man 2, which added $16.46 million / $21.08 million to its running tally of $279.65 million. It is still aiming for $300 million domestically, while it should top that internationally.

Rounding out the top five was Robin Hood with $10.41 million / $13.42 million. So far it has earned $86.14 million during its run. Compared to most other wide releases this summer, this is considered a victory.

Finally, we get to the sophomore class, which this week consists of Shrek Forever After and MacGruber. Shrek held onto top spot; MacGruber wasn't as lucky. Over the three-day weekend, the film was down more than 61% to $1.57 million while over four it added $2.02 million to its total of $7.67 million. With a per theater average under $1000, a lot of theater owners will be looking to drop this film as soon as possible and even $10 million might be out of reach.


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Filed under: Sex and the City 2, MacGruber, Shrek Forever After, Robin Hood, Iron Man 2, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time