Wait, you mean to tell me that this was a holiday weekend? You certainly wouldn’t know it from the box office, which had its worst Memorial weekend showing in ten years. Remember when Memorial weekend signaled the beginning of the summer movie season? Studios usually unveiled a surefire hit to serve as a harbinger of the season.
This weekend, a holdover (Shrek Forever After) beat out two newbies, Sex and the City 2, and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. This is rather unusual for a holiday weekend, so let’s take a closer look at what may have happened, based on Sunday’s totals.
At the time of this writing, Shrek had collected about $43.3 Million, while SATC 2 made about $32 Million (this does not count the Thursday totals for the movie.) Meanwhile, Prince of Persia made about $30 Million. So, the two new entries almost exactly split the vote, so to speak. Between the two of them, they made over $60 Million. However, they were targeted to complete opposite demographics, while Shrek still appealed to families this weekend. It should be noted that Shrek is still playing at almost 1,000 more theaters than any other movies this week.
SATC 2 cost less to make ($100M), so it will probably be fine over the upcoming weeks, but Prince of Persia had a hefty price tag of $200 Million, and it will have an uphill battle to win back its budget, not to mention that the appeal of Jake Gyllenhaal as an action hero comes into question.
At any rate, I think most of us expected SATC 2 and Prince of Persia to make $50 or $60 Million each. Yikes.
Iron Man 2 came in in third place with $16 Million, bringing its cumulative to $274 Million after four weeks in release. Robin Hood managed to rake in another $10 Million, and now stands at $83 Million, but that is still a long, long way from its reported budget of close to $200 Million, though foreign ticket sales are helping cushion the blow.
Letters to Juliet continues to quietly perform well. Now in its 3rd week, the film only dropped 34%, and has made over $36 Million in three weeks. The big loser this weekend was MacGruber, which plummeted 63% from its already less than stellar opening weekend, and only made $1.4 Million.
Next week we have Splice, Get Him to the Greek, and Marmaduke. Talk about counter-programming!