Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sex and the City 2 drops from Thursday opening day, while Prince of Persia plummits into a bed of spikes. Friday box office (05/28/10).

Well, as expected, Sex and the City 2 has pulled in about the same amount of money in its first two days that the original film pulled in on its opening day. On its first Friday, the film actually dropped 8.5% from its Thursday take, meaning that the film may in fact be frighteningly front-loaded. Even Terminator: Salvation increased 10% on its first Friday and second respective day of release. And Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull increased 22% on its second day, and the Thursday opening day turned out to be the lowest-grossing day of its five-day weekend. While the 8.5% drop is smaller than the respective Thurs-to-Fri drops for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (-33%), Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (-19%), and The Matrx Reloaded (-26%), those film has much larger opening-day tallies from which to plummet accordingly with upfront demand ($50 million, $30 million, and $42 million respectively). With a $13 million-grossing Friday, the critically-trashed sequel has now grossed $27.2 million in two days, or just a touch more than the $26.7 million earned by the original picture on its first day of release two years ago.

As was the case with Terminator: Salvation Memorial Day weekend, it was beyond stupid for Warner Bros. to open this one a day early. First of all, by splitting the opening day audience into two non-vacation days, you basically ended up with two middling box office days as opposed to one superior opening day. I'd imagine that Warner/New Line would be more impressed with a $25 million+ opening day that blew away Shrek: The Final Chapter and Prince of Persia, as opposed to a $27 million two-day total. Second of all, the film is allegedly quite bad, offending even the franchise's die-hard fans. The extra day has just given the general audiences one extra day to tell their friends as the weekend rolls on. I call this the 'Godzilla Rule': if your movie isn't all that good, do NOT open it early and allow bad word of mouth to spread prior to the Fri-Sun weekend (see also - The Matrix Revolutions and Superman Returns). Barring a miraculous Saturday night uptick and/or further collapse, the $95 million-budgeted sequel looks to score about $65 million for the five-day holiday. Not a tragedy, but certainly evidence that the franchise is basically playing exclusively to the hardcore fans (not a bad place to be, as Harry Potter or Edward Cullen will tell you).

Coming in second place was Shrek: Forever After, which dropped 45% on its second Friday for an $11.4 million gross. Shrek 2 dropped 29% on its second Friday ($20.1 million), but said opening Friday was slightly offset by a Wednesday opening. The original Shrek dropped 14% on its second Friday ($9.8 million), while Shrek the Third dropped 63% on its Memorial Day-weekend Friday ($14.2 million). Considering the expected uptick for the family-skewing Shrek sequel, there is a decent chance that the film could overtake Sex and the City over the next three days and win the holiday weekend (another reason not to have opened the R-rated comedy on a Thursday). Tomorrow will tell that tale. Coming in third was Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which opened with a disappointing $10.2 million. Oddly enough, the showing I attended yesterday was absolutely packed, to the point where I had to sit at the very end of a very high row (I prefer center of center). The movie is pretty mediocre, with obnoxious heroes, bland villains, and action that is cut too tight and quick to really enjoy. It's noteworthy only for its sledgehammer-subtle political metaphor to the Iraq war (the bad guys coerce the good guys to invade a sovereign land in search of non-existent weapons, and then use private mercenaries to kill their way to the desired treasure). Had the terribly-advertised film not cost $200 million, said $40 million four-day take would not be a big deal. But since Disney decided to spend Dead Man's Chest-type money to attempt to make the next Curse of the Black Pearl, not even overseas grosses (which are tepid thus far) will save them. Finally, MacGruber followed up one of the worst 2500+ screen debuts in history with a 72% Friday-to-Friday plunge. Pity, it's really a perfectly okay B-comedy.

More tomorrow or Monday, depending on my daughter's nap schedule.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

R.L. Shaffer said...

It's a shame it flopped, but admittedly, the first Macgruber sketch of next year -- where Macgruber deals with his film flopping -- will inevitably be pretty hilarious.


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