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Narnia Set to Reign

May 15th, 2008

There's little doubt which film will come out on top this weekend, as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is the only film opening wide this weekend. The real competition are three other films that opened earlier, sometimes much earlier. The first is the film that started this summer, Iron Man, the second is the biggest hit from the same weekend last year, Shrek the Third, and the final one is the film that started the franchise, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Prince Caspian will be judged a success or a failure not whether or not it can finish first, but how it does in comparison to these other films.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is the only wide release of the week, and that's not really a surprise; in fact, it is a bit of a surprise that it is not opening wider. Prince Caspian makes its debut in 3,929 theaters, which is not quite Mega-wide, unlike Iron Man. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was one of the biggest hits of 2005, behind only Revenge of the Sith and slightly ahead of Goblet of Fire and this certainly was a factor that led to no studio was willing to go up against Prince Caspian, and this lack of competition can only help the film at the box office. The reviews should also help, and at 73% positive, they are nearly identical to its predecessor's reviews. Also aiding the film's opening is Sequelitis and a superior release date. Best case scenario, it could crack $100 million over the weekend. Worst case scenario has it failing to match original's $65.56 million. Splitting the difference gives us $83 million, which is a pretty good prediction. I think it has a slightly better shot at the high end than the low end, but $83 million is a solid prediction. This should be enough to satisfy the studio, but I'm not sure it will be enough for them to be truly happy.

After two weeks on top, Iron Man will be pushed into second place. However, despite direct competition, its incredible reviews should help slow its decent. Just over $30 million isn't out of the question, but just under $29 million is more likely. This would still be more than enough to push the film over the $200 million mark, while it is tracking to end its run with close to $300 million.

The midweek numbers for What Happens in Vegas... have been merely average, which is still better than its reviews. With no new counter-programming this week, it could fall as little as 40%, to give it $12 million over the weekend and between $38 and $39 million after 10 days. Even if it misses that mark and only earns just over $10 million over the weekend, which seems more likely, the movie will have little trouble becoming a mid-level hit.

On the other hand, Speed Racer is destined to go down of a massive, massive bomb. A 60% drop-off this weekend would be high, but not out of the question. That would leave the movie with just over $7 million over the weekend. Even the best case scenario has the movie seeing its opening weekend sliced in half while earning just over $9 million this weekend. Look for $8 million this weekend, and maybe $40 million in total.

Made of Honor will be the final film in the top five by default. A weekend haul of between $4 million and $5 million is hardly impressive, but it will be enough to reach the top five one last time.


Filed under: Iron Man, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, What Happens in Vegas..., Made of Honor, Speed Racer