Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones beats Iron Man's three day weekend gross. "Suck it, Paramount!" says Paramount. Or 'Suck it Marvel', exclaims Lucasfilm.

Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull has topped the $101 million mark in the Fri-Sun portion of its opening weekend. As predicted, this one played like a family-friendly adventure that grew as the weekend progressed, rather than peaking on its opening Thursday night. My numbers were merely 94% accurate, but the pattern was 100% dead-on. So this weekend, it's Mendelson's right about Indy 4's debut weekend vs Mendelson blows it on Prince Caspian's first and second weekend. As of now, Indiana Jones' $101 million three-day puts it in 10th place, although if it can find an extra $2 million on Sunday, it can move up to 8th place. The current 4-day total of $126 million puts it in 8th place (no film in the top 13 places on that list ended up with less than $290 million). This is a phenomenal performance that performed the way the smash hits of my day did. They opened strong and got stronger as the weekend progressed, peaking on Saturday with strong matinees keeping Sunday in play.

The days so far -
Thursday - $25 million
Friday - $31 million (up 24%)
Saturday - $37 million (up 20%)
Sunday - $33 million (down 11%)

For the second time this month, my advice to not be overly optimistic about a potential blockbuster has been unnecessary. But the point still stands. In most things in life, I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than unexpectedly disappointed. And unreasonable expectations can in fact do damage to a film's longterm potential if the press decides to label something an instant bomb due to its not meeting inflated expectations. Providing Indiana Jones 4 doesn't crash and burn on Monday, a five-day take over over $150 million is in the cards (likely placing it fourth on the five-day list), and everyone involved should be overjoyed.

The strong daytime business means that kids and families are coming, which should help lessen the second-weekend drop (decent word of mouth from regular non-geeks and kids should help too). And mothers dropping their kids (and husbands?) off to see Henry Jones Jr. while they see Sex And The City next weekend won't hurt either. A plea though... if you're a young girl who wants to see the R-rated Sex And The City without a parent or guardian, please buy your fake ticket for Speed Racer. It needs all the help it can get ($36 million after three weeks).

Scott Mendelson

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