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Friendly Kids Franchise Turns Too Fierce: Darker ‘Narnia 2′ Falls $ Short Of Original

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SUNDAY AM: Weekend estimates show that the sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian‘s 3-day opening fell far short of the original despite a No. 1 box office finish  this weekend. The 2005 first installment of the joint Disney/Walden Media fantasy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, was a surprise success with a $65 million weekend debut. But the sequel grossed only $56.6 million for FSS after earning $19.3 million Friday from 3,929 theaters. The pic managed only a modest 5% bump for Saturday, when kiddie matinees usually rule, to take in $20.3 million. With an estimated $17 million Sunday, that’s a total far less than the $80M which box office analysts expected this weekend. The main problem was the sequel’s darker content: the friendly woodland creatures gave way to murder and betrayal and political intrigue as the sequel devolved into what reviewers complained was basically a war movie. That proved bad for domestic box office. Internationally, the sequel did much better: opening day and date in 12 markets, Disney said Sunday that Prince Caspian earned $20.7 million, which represents a 27% improvement over the first Narnia(Above, Saturday matinee for Narnia 2 at El Capitan. Photo by Jim Stevenson)

Marvel/Paramount’s blockbuster Iron Man came in #2 with $8.7M from 4,154 venues Friday and $13.5M Saturday for a new cume of $222.4M and a $31.2M weekend. Fox’s romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas placed 3rd with $13.8M f(-31%) from 3,255 plays for the weekend for a new … Read More »

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TOLDJA! ‘Speed Racer’ Finishes Only 3rd; Facts Show Warner Bros Inflated Figures

Shame on the trades and mainstream media for not making the big deal out of this angle of the Sunday box office story I did. (Or, is that the reason? See my previous, Rival Studios Accuse WB Of Inflating #s). It’s now clear that Warner Bros wildly exaggerated its domestic gross claims for its disastrous Speed Racer. The WB-inflated tally of $20.2M put its anime actioner 2nd and Fox’s What Happens In Vegas only 3rd with $20M, when every other studio had the ranking the other way around and Speed Racer‘s tally around $19.7M. Those rival studio execs told me Sunday there was no way WB’s kiddie pic would suddenly have a huge Sunday. And, remember, there’s primo PR value in these Top 10 ranking which get reported in newspapers and on TV and the Internet. But now the official figures have been reported Monday, and everyone can see how fudged WB’s figures really are. Speed Racer made only $18.5M for the weekend, while Fox’s Vegas totalled $20.1M. That’s a difference of more than $1.6M. Jeez. As I noted yesterday, these kind of controversies don’t develop often in Hollywood, but when they do, they can be ugly. That’s because there is a certain code of honor among thieves, if you will — a tacit agreement that every Hollywood studio will try to report … Read More »

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WHAT A DISASTER! ‘Speed Racer’ $20M Weekend Half What Warner Bros Hoped; Rival Studios Accuse WB Of Inflating #s

SUNDAY AM: Showing just how fiercely competitive the summer box office is right now, rival Hollywood movie studios are complaining to me they don’t believe Warner Bros’ domestic gross numbers released today. Those claim its disastrous Speed Racer came in 2nd behind Marvel’s Iron Man in the weekend’s Top 10 contest. All the other majors — Fox, Sony, Paramount, Universal, Disney, and MGM – have the anime actioner opening only 3rd. And rivals dispute WB’s reporting that Speed Racer made $20.2 million for Fri-Sat-Sun because its projected Sunday number isn’t seen as possible. “That’s a very aggressive Sunday estimate to try and claim 2nd,” one studio’s top marketing and distribution mogul complained to me this morning, echoing the disbelief of most of his colleagues. “Warners is hoping moms want to go to Speed Racer for Mothers Day.” (To give Warner Bros the benefit of the doubt, it’s true that family pics do well on Mothers Day.) But all the other studios have Fox’s romantic comedy What Happens In Vegas in 2nd place with $20 million, and Speed Racer only 3rd with $19.7 million. And the rival execs say that, since Speed Racer‘s gross was even softer than anyone thought, up only 18% on Saturday because of kiddie matinees compared to Friday, the Warner Bros film couldn’t possibly get to $20 million for the weekend barring a box office miracle on Sunday. “Their estimate is utterly laughable!,” a top exec at a rival major told me this AM. “That being said, … Read More »

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