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Go Speed Racer!

May 8th, 2008

Speed Racer tries to maintain 2008's momentum; however, there's little chance it will match Iron Man's opening, or even its sophomore stint. In fact, many pundits don't think it will be able to match Iron Man's opening during its entire run. That said, the combined weight of the new releases and the holds could lift this weekend over last year's total, which is the real goal at this point.

Despite the release of a $100 million movie, Iron Man is still the odds-on favorite to repeat on top of the charts. Taking a look at the list of $100 million openers, we can see most suffered sizable drop-offs during their sophomore stint. Some, like Spider-Man and Shrek 2 had drop-offs in the 30% range, while on the other end of the scale, X-Men: The Last Stand fell nearly 67%. Despite earning incredible reviews, the midweek numbers have not been particularly strong and the Fanboy Effect will make a 50% drop-off nearly unavoidable. This makes $51 million at the high end of the scale while worst case scenario has the movie dropping more than 60% to $40 million, or less. The high end is more likely, much more likely, and over the next three days Iron Man should add $47 million to its running tally of $174 million after ten days.

Speed Racer cost $100 million to make, and it looks like they spent all of that money on the special effects. This is not a compliment. Reviews for the movie have not been favorable with most critics complaining that the effects are overbearing while the story is equally incoherent and superfluous. With a theater count of roughly 3,600, the film will need to earn a per theater average of $10,000 or more if it wants to have a reasonable chance at matching its production budget. That seems unlikely at this point. $35 million is on the high end of expectations while there are more than a few who doubt it will crack $30 million. A sub-$30 million opening would be nearly disastrous, but while an opening of $33 million would not hurt as much psychologically, it is hardly that much better financially.

The role of counter-programming this weekend is played by What Happens in Vegas..., although calling it counter-programming might be doing it a disservice. The film is actually earning better reviews than Speed Racer and is opening at a saturation level theater count of 3,200. However, it is a romantic comedy and in general those films don't do huge business at the best of times and with direct competition from Made of Honor, it is unlikely that it will be a massive hit. In fact, there are some who think matching Made of Honor's $14.76 million opening is not a sure thing. It appears to be tracking at "just over" $20 million, which would be a very solid debut, but "just under" might be in its future.

Terrible reviews and direct competition will likely hurt Made of Honor this weekend. However, this is not a genre that tends to suffer from the Fanboy Effect and it is very unlikely that the movie will suffer a 50% drop-off while it might only lose 40% of its opening weekend take. This gives it a range of just over $7 million to just under $9 million while it should finish a little on the high side.

Baby Mama should add roughly $6 million over the weekend, which would push its total to $40 million, more or less. This is already better than originally expected and should be enough to make the studio happy.

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Filed under: Iron Man, What Happens in Vegas..., Baby Mama, Made of Honor, Speed Racer