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Iron Golden, but Not as Lustrous as Some Expected

May 10th, 2010

Iron Man 2 started off the summer in style with the biggest opening weekend of the year and the fifth biggest of all time. This helped the overall box office hit $174 million, which was 76% higher than last weekend. More importantly, it was 20% higher than the same weekend last year. This is extra important, because last year we were already a week into summer and we couldn't afford any weakness at the box office if 2010 was to maintain its lead over 2009. It was able to do so. In fact, it increased its lead slightly to 6.5% at $3.66 billion to $3.44 billion.

Iron Man 2 was huge during its opening weekend, earning the best ever three-day debut for the studio. It took in 25% more than its predecessor. Additionally, its reviews are quite excellent for a sequel and its legs should be strong for this type of film. It's unlikely that they will be as strong as the original's were, but the film is well on its way to profitability and there's little doubt there will be more installments of the franchise after The Avengers debuts. That said, as impressive as it was, this start was still a lot slower than many were expecting and it was not even close to The Dark Knight's debut.

There's little chance A Nightmare on Elm Street will be the first of a new franchise. The film collapsed during its sophomore stint, down more than 72% to $9.12 million over the weekend for a total of $48.48 million after two. It was a relatively inexpensive movie to make, but I don't think the studio will be willing to risk spending another $30 to $40 million on a movie that likely will have to wait till the home market to show a profit. If it can show a profit.

How to Train Your Dragon became just the second film of the year to reach $200 million at the box office. It managed $6.68 million over the weekend, lifting its total to $201.01 million after 45 days of release This makes it one of the slowest films to reach $200 million. On the other hand, for a film to be in the top five after 45 days of release is impressive. And it is possible it will remain in the top five next weekend as well.

Date Night topped expectations, barely, with $5.45 million over the weekend, lifting its total to $81.00 million. It has a really low per theater average and direct competition next weekend, so it will likely start shedding theaters at an accelerated pace. It should still reach the low to mid $90s, which makes it a solid midlevel hit. Still, it will likely end its run short of $100 million.

The Back-up Plan also topped expectations with $5.03 million over the weekend and $30.10 million after three. It too has a low per theater average and direct competition next weekend, which means it will quickly disappear from theaters. It might get to $40 million or $45 million, but I'm not sure the studio will be entirely happy with that.

Finally we get to Babies. After Friday's estimates came it, nearly everyone was ready to write off the film. After all, it looked like it would open with less than $1 million. However, the film earned more than that on Sunday alone. In the end it had made a respectable debut of $2.16 million on 534 screens. With a per theater average of $4,048, half of which was the result of the Mother's Day bump, I don't think many theater owners will be willing to book the film if they haven't already. Significant expansion is very unlikely. Perhaps the film will be a bigger hit on the home market.

The only sophomore film to miss the top five was Furry Vengeance, which placed sixth with $4.48 million. That was only 32% lower than its opening, which was better than expected. But with a total of just $12.10 million after ten days, it is still a bomb.


Filed under: Date Night, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Back-up Plan, How to Train Your Dragon, Iron Man 2, Furry Vengeance, Babies