Sunday, May 4, 2008

By a nose...

It's official. Iron Man pulled in $102.1 million over the Thurs-Sun opening weekend. Amusingly enough, Paramount is claiming that the Thursday sneaks only pulled in $3.5 million (down $2 million from earlier reports). This of course, allows Paramount to claim that Iron Man made almost $100 million over the official Fri-Sun opening weekend (final weekend total - $98.6 million).

Astoundingly, the film actually increased its box office on Saturday night, from $35 million to $37 million. I don't recall seeing that happen for an opening of this size since, yep, Spider-Man in 2002. This means word of mouth is likely through-the-roof and we can expect a better than normal hold next weekend (especially, of course, if Speed Racer 'pulls a Poseidon' ). By the way, speaking of astounding, does Iron Man have a prefix in the manner of other Marvel characters? Spider-Man is 'amazing', Hulk is 'incredible' and the X-Men are apparently 'uncanny'. Just curious.

Needless to say, this number surpasses all reasonable expectations. If I still played that Box Office Mojo weekly guess the numbers game, I'd have gotten whupped this weekend; though to be fair my guess of $75 million was right in line with the average guess of $78 million. Mazel tov to all involved. This is a huge start to summer 2008 and is a blessing (big openers bring everyone to the movies in the long run) and a curse (now other event films have heightened expectations). I'll try to have more on how this affects The Dark Knight and The Incredible Hulk later in the week. Expect to see an Iron Man sequel in summer 2010 or 2011, probably starring Faran Tahir as The Mandarin. Nice idea, by the way, defusing obvious Asian racial issues associated with The Mandarin by making him an Afghani (although the name may still be a problem - will later sequels see Iron Man facing off against 'The Jew' or 'The Negro'?).

In other box office news, second place went to Patrick Dempsey's Made Of Honor, which pulled in $15.5 million. Considering the competition and the fact that the film is so second-hand that it was probably financed by Goodwill, this is a pretty solid number. Baby Mama and Forgetting Sarah Marshall both had solid holds (40% and 44% respectively) pushing their respective totals to $$33 million and $45 million. Harold And Kumar got crushed ($6 million - down 60% - total $26 million), both by competition and the fact that their 'escape' isn't half the masterpiece that their 'trip' was (ironically, the film opens with a cheap shot at 2004's Eurotrip, then proceeds to in fact 'suck' harder than Eurotrip).

Scott Mendelson

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