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Hulk a Smash Hit

June 16th, 2008

Another strong weekend at the box office with the new releases topping expectations, at least combined. Overall, theaters pulled in close to $180 million over the weekend, which was up nearly 3% from last weekend. More importantly, it was up nearly 24% from the same weekend last year. This helped the summer season shoot ahead of last year's pace while year-to-date 2008 is behind 2007's pace by less than 1% at $4.06 billion to $4.07 billion. Before this weekend, 2008 should take the lead in terms of raw dollars, and while it is still more than 3% behind 2007 in terms of attendance, that too could change before long.

I was admittedly bullish on Thursday with regard to The Incredible Hulk's box office chances, and while it just missed my prediction with $55.41 million, this is enough to be considered a success by almost any reasonable measure. True, this is significantly lower than the original made back in 2003, but The Incredible Hulk has better reviews and a higher internal multiplier and this should help it show better legs. $150 million will be a tough target to reach, but it is not impossible, while topping the original and matching its production budget is much more likely. In the end, it should make a profit, but not before it reaches the home market.

Kung Fu Panda also missed Thursday's prediction, but came close enough to call it a victory. Over the weekend, the film pulled in $33.61 million while it crossed $100 million on Saturday, leading to a total of $117.29 million so far. With school holidays beginning, it should perform better during the weekdays and that should help it top $200 million during its run.

Despite earning the worst reviews of M. Night Shyamalan's career, The Happening beat expectations to pull in $30.52 million over the weekend in 2,986 theaters. Granted, at just 2.33, its internal multiplier was pathetic. Worst case scenario has the film collapsing next weekend by more than 60%, while it might not earn as much during the rest of its run than it will earn during its opening week. On the other hand, it could still top its original expectations and finish with a respectable total of $75 million or more. We will have a better idea in roughly seven days.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend was You Don't Mess With the Zohan, which fell 57.5% to just $16.37 million for a total of $68.76 million. Unless it recovers this coming weekend, it might not reach $100 million overall. That would make it the first non-$100 million hit for a live action comedy starring Adam Sandler since Little Nicky. However, even if it does, it has enough potential on the home market that it should still show a profit, eventually.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came one weekend closer to $300 million by earning $14.74 million over the weekend for a total of $276.52 million. This was better than expected and it helped to solidify its path to $300 million. However, with $5.62 million over the weekend and $297.92 million in total, Iron Man should get there first.

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Filed under: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Kung Fu Panda, The Incredible Hulk, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, Make It Happen