Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones 4 - $31 million Friday (plus updates on Prince Caspian, Iron Man)

As expected, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull built on its opening day, with a solid 25% uptick. The official estimate for Friday is $31 million, which puts the two-day total at a solid $56 million. Although the Friday number wasn't quite as high as I personally expected, this is still a fine figure. It suggests a weekend Fri-Sun total closer to Matrix Reloaded ($92 million) or X2 ($85 million) as opposed to my optimistic comparison to Shrek 2 or Star Wars Episode III (both about $108 million). Don't let the naysayers take the lead here... this is a terrific number for an old franchise that skews much older than the usual blockbuster. For the record, it is the fourth best ever for a non-opening day Friday. Ahead of Indy 4 are Spider-Man 2 with $32.5 million, Revenge Of The Sith with $33.5 million, and Matrix Reloaded with $31.3 million. For what it's worth, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 with $42 million on its opening day Friday, but it had $13 million in 8pm-midnight Thursday shows.

I was quite wrong, however, about Prince Caspian maintaining a healthy percentage of its opening weekend figure due to being the second choice for those who had already seen Crystal Skull by Friday or Saturday. In retrospect, I should have realized the fallacy of my argument. If I was correct in claiming that Indiana Jones would not be as front loaded during the weekend, then most moviegoers would not need a 'second-choice' for this weekend's movie going.

Anyway, Caspian dropped a nasty 66% from Friday to Friday for a second Friday gross of $6.6 million. It should close out the long weekend with just under $100 million, which is still a more than decent 11 day total. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe held steady after a second-weekend drop (competition from King Kong) and had a few more healthy weekends afterward, so we'll see if Caspian can repeat that feat. Even if it can't, a modestly under performing domestic total of under $150 million (only in relation to costs) will do just fine combined with decent international and DVD/BluRay revenue.

Iron Man is still holding up well and should close the long weekend just past $257 million, which would place it above Batman (1989) as the highest-grossing comic book film that isn't Spider-Man 1, 2, or 3 (adjusted for inflation, Batman's numbers would be about $433 million today). $300 million is likely in the cards for Iron Man. Despite my lukewarm feelings on the movie, this is a remarkable performance for what is basically a B-list comic character. Mazel-tov to Downey Jr, as he gets every ounce of credit for this one. If the fall Oscar season underwhelms, don't be surprised if the popular Downey Jr. parlays this high-quality movie star performance into an Oscar nomination, ala Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl.

Scott Mendelson

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