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Kung Fu Carries the Day

June 9th, 2008

It was a very strong weekend at the box office with the two new releases earning nearly $100 million combined. This helped the overall box office shoot up to $175 million, or 4% higher than last weekend, which is nice, but not spectacular. What is spectacular is the weekend's 29% increase from the same frame last year. Year-to-date, 2008 is still behind 2007, but by less than 2% at $3.81 billion to $3.87 billion. With a little luck, 2008 could catch-up by this time next week.

As expected, Kung Fu Panda opened in first place this weekend. However, its $60.24 million opening weekend is substantially higher than expected and the third best June opening of all time. This is nearly identical to the opening for Cars two years ago, and that film went on to make close to $250 million in total. Kung Fu Panda does have the advantage of better reviews, but it also has to deal with stronger direct competition. Regardless, it would take a real collapse at the box office to not at least match original expectations, while $250 million is within range.

While it didn't quite match expectations, You Don't Mess With the Zohan came close enough to call a victory. In fact, its $38.53 million opening weekend was higher than many analysts were predicting and the seventh best in Adam Sandler's career. Important note, of the other films of his that topped this one during their opening weekend, all reached $100 million in total. And with reviews that are average for an Adam Sandler flick, this one should be no different. In fact, if it performs as well as I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry did after its opening weekend, it will top original expectations by a tiny margin and the studio should be more than happy with that.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull continues its search for $300 million by earning $22.79 million, which matched Thursday's prediction nearly perfectly. The movie now has $253.01 million overall and is maintaining its $300 million pace. On the other hand, it faces more direct competition this coming weekend with two films that share significant portions of its target audience, and it will also start shedding theaters at an accelerated rate, so it won't last in the top five very much longer.

'Chick Flick' and 'Fanboy Effect' and phrases that you rarely hear used in conjunction with the same film, but they certainly fit here. Sex and the City plummeted 63% to $21.22 million over the weekend to miss the $100 million mark with $99.18 million in total. Good news, strong weekday numbers could still help it reach $150 million in total while given its production budget and its international numbers, it has already shown a profit.

Strangers came within a rounding error of matching Thursday's prediction by earning $8.94 million over the weekend for a total of $37.30 million. This is likely more than the film cost to make and advertise, which leaves it on pace to show a profit during its international run.

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Filed under: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Kung Fu Panda, Sex and the City, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, The Strangers