Box Office Guru Preview: Can Speed Racer Defeat Iron Man?

What Happens in Vegas also happening this weekend.

by | May 8, 2008 | Comments

Fast cars and comedy stars make their way into North American multiplexes on Friday hoping to shake things up after Iron Man‘s sheer dominance of the box office over the past week. Warner Bros. unveils its family actioner Speed Racer while Fox counters with its anti-romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher which targets young adults. Neither is expected to steal away the crown from Tony Stark,
however they will provide some variety to the marketplace and try to keep the new summer season moving along. With three strong players, look for the box office
to outperform last year’s webslinger-led frame.

From the small screen to the big, Speed Racer zooms into theaters this weekend hoping to tap into nostalgia on its way to building an audience. The PG-rated film
is from The Wachowski Brothers and is their first non-Matrix directorial effort in 12 years. This time the boys are going after young kids and their parents plus the cult following that the Americanized version of the popular Japanese cartoon series has built up over the decades. Emile Hirsch stars as the title character and is joined by Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Christina Ricci, and Matthew Fox.

Speed Racer offers amazing visuals that fans will want to catch on the big screen. Plus there are no films out there for younger children except for the PG-13 Iron
Man
which is playing very broadly. But the Mach 5 crew has an uphill battle as awareness is not too high and current tracking data suggests that excitement levels
aren’t so high. And that flying iron guy is certainly going to be tempting to the family audience even though technically it’s not a kidpic. Speed Racer may also
struggle with word-of-mouth as adult fans may find it too corny and childish while parents might feel many elements are a bit too racy for little kids. Long-term
prospects are also shaky as Disney’s rival PG flick The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian opens seven days later and is based on a property that is significantly more popular. Racing into 3,606 locations, Speed Racer could make off with around $32M.


Speed Racer opens this weekend.

Following a string of four successful comedies debuting over three frames, Fox’s What Happens in Vegas becomes the latest offering giving moviegoers some laughs. The PG-13 pic stars Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher as down-on-their-luck New Yorkers who meet and marry in Vegas, but must try to make the marriage work in order to keep their $3 million jackpot. The film packs more starpower than just about any other live action comedy released this year and the studio is banking on that to pull in dollars. Cross-gender appeal is strong given the actor names and the premise. Creatively it’s everything that 2006’s The Break-Up tried to be, only it won’t reach that film’s commercial heights.

But a big problem with the marketing is with the television spots as the film is much funnier than the ads make it seem. Diaz is usually a pretty bankable draw at the box office, especially in comedies, and Kutcher lends some weight of his own too. Audiences may be interested in seeing the chemistry between the blonde superstar and the boy toy of her Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle co-star Demi Moore. Plus Mother’s Day weekend could add some business from adult women looking for something to see that speaks to them. Iron Man probably won’t be it. Most female-skewing comedies have opened in the $14-18M range over the past couple of weeks. Entering 3,208 theaters, What Happens in Vegas will probably score a bigger opening and debut with about $20M.


Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher in What Happens in Vegas

Despite the new releases, Iron Man is not worried at all and plans to remain in the top spot by a comfortable margin. The film has been cheered by critics and audiences alike so word-of-mouth is in its favor. Plus competition from new films is not too strong. However, the metal man was made to absorb much of its audience upfront so a sizable drop cannot be avoided.

In 2002, Spider-Man shattered the all-time opening weekend record and then went on to decline by only 38% to $71.4M in its sophomore frame. The following year, X2: X-Men United fell 53% in its second try playing out more like a sequel. Iron Man is more likely to mirror the Wolverine flick despite the positive buzz. Megahits just don’t hold on like the first webslinger pic anymore. Iron Man could see its sales get chopped in half leaving Paramount with roughly $49M this weekend. That would make the cume surge to $171M after ten-plus days of play.

Made of Honor could see its sophomore drop cushioned a bit by Mother’s Day. Recent declines for comedies aimed at the same audience have been 38% for Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 42% for Baby Mama. Look for Patrick Dempsey to snuggle into that range and see a 40% slip. That would give Sony’s romantic comedy about $9M and a mediocre ten-day tally of $27M.

Universal’s Baby Mama has been holding up pretty well and a 35% decline would give the surrogate motherhood pic $6.5M and a total of $41M.

LAST YEAR: For the second weekend in a row, Spider-Man 3 ruled the box office taking in $58.2M boosting the ten-day cume to a jaw-dropping $240.2M. The Sony megahit fell a steep 62% but still managed to be the only film to attract double-digit millions. Opening in second was the horror sequel 28 Weeks Later with $9.8M for Fox while Universal bowed its dramedy Georgia Rule in third with a dismal $6.8M. Final grosses reached $28.6M and $19.1M, respectively. Paramount’s hit thriller Disturbia starring Spielberg‘s favorite new kid ranked fourth with $4.7M and a slim 19% dip. The comedy Delta Farce flopped debuting in fifth with just $3.4M for Lionsgate with an average of under $1,800. A $8.1M final resulted.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

TV renewals Pop Shondaland CW Seed Quiz Thanksgiving 71st Emmy Awards cops Polls and Games documentary ABC Awards Apple TV+ video See It Skip It Acorn TV psychological thriller renewed TV shows stand-up comedy dragons zero dark thirty comiccon serial killer TCA Winter 2020 award winner Rocketman natural history Paramount crime composers Calendar Starz 21st Century Fox Christmas History BAFTA Amazon die hard Oscars true crime The Purge cars Tumblr CMT Hulu crime drama movie psycho police drama CNN Character Guide franchise BBC One BET Awards series Warner Bros. ITV Rom-Com Emmys Superheroe versus CBS All Access TCA romance Walt Disney Pictures Lucasfilm jamie lee curtis child's play Endgame BBC America Sundance Now stop motion Country Trailer concert TV Land what to watch Amazon Prime Video E! Video Games Holidays canceled TV shows TLC classics Food Network Song of Ice and Fire Creative Arts Emmys zombie reviews DC Comics universal monsters spanish language Comic Book WarnerMedia TBS quibi Awards Tour Pop TV VH1 strong female leads GLAAD medical drama mutant Disney streaming service cartoon Black Mirror BET Crackle VOD TNT diversity 007 Bravo Netflix Christmas movies New York Comic Con book disaster screen actors guild cinemax thriller Amazon Studios anime MCU Fantasy Cosplay all-time emmy awards Apple harry potter comics Martial Arts canceled Spectrum Originals adventure latino sitcom Baby Yoda GoT slashers mission: impossible Mindy Kaling Discovery Channel cancelled Crunchyroll Hallmark kids 45 hollywood Biopics free movies DC Universe DC streaming service news 24 frames cats travel Syfy Set visit Tarantino Opinion Nominations YA Teen casting Britbox CBS anthology fast and furious Infographic Mystery Showtime Photos discovery Premiere Dates dramedy Funimation Fall TV facebook foreign ghosts YouTube Premium Ellie Kemper Epix Interview Best and Worst christmas movies Hear Us Out period drama FXX werewolf Marathons Columbia Pictures SundanceTV Mary Tyler Moore Adult Swim Academy Awards space 2017 Emmy Nominations doctor who ABC Family MTV Extras Stephen King TruTV PBS ESPN Rocky comic Winners cults Musicals halloween Marvel Television Peacock criterion Turner Classic Movies Sci-Fi Brie Larson IFC Films politics 4/20 Vudu Certified Fresh Mary poppins VICE PlayStation dceu Ovation parents hist festivals Family teaser mockumentary Comics on TV HBO singing competition best sequels animated unscripted dark asian-american miniseries Spike Superheroes breaking bad Freeform Trivia Mudbound First Reviews Ghostbusters Sundance TV Dark Horse Comics Star Trek television spider-man boxoffice based on movie spain E3 biography twilight Valentine's Day Drama Logo 2020 Reality Nickelodeon Cannes dc Trophy Talk OWN rotten docudrama Winter TV Music Netflix aliens San Diego Comic-Con chucky Paramount Network BBC name the review Apple TV Plus LGBT sports Heroines TCA 2017 Travel Channel SXSW Universal National Geographic science fiction Star Wars First Look PaleyFest Toys Disney Spring TV DirecTV Lifetime AMC streaming Election richard e. Grant Turner scary movies GIFs MSNBC Writers Guild of America 2018 Elton John Sneak Peek 2015 DGA adaptation Pirates Grammys crossover Schedule Lifetime Christmas movies elevated horror Tomatazos Cartoon Network Kids & Family justice league Classic Film hispanic films sequel technology witnail Captain marvel IFC Hallmark Christmas movies sag awards Television Academy RT History HBO Go dogs The CW Watching Series Amazon Prime finale Black History Month children's TV Binge Guide Sundance video on demand The Witch Esquire USA Network cancelled TV series romantic comedy political drama transformers Fox News NBC laika Pet Sematary reboot revenge Arrowverse Pride Month zombies toy story Podcast El Rey TCM supernatural war Sony Pictures WGN The Walking Dead blaxploitation NYCC FOX Marvel Studios spinoff Anna Paquin movies Television Critics Association SDCC golden globes A24 Tubi FX batman superhero Summer Holiday robots Chernobyl Pixar south america Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comedies worst Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Avengers tv talk joker 2019 Lionsgate TCA Awards Masterpiece indiana jones Animation social media Action Shudder Western YouTube obituary X-Men Musical OneApp stoner nbcuniversal 2016 Countdown spy thriller independent Horror The Arrangement satire USA directors green book historical drama Red Carpet game of thrones RT21 crime thriller APB theme song screenings Women's History Month Super Bowl critics documentaries Year in Review indie a nightmare on elm street Nat Geo Disney+ Disney Plus 72 Emmy Awards Disney Plus 20th Century Fox A&E blockbuster Reality Competition rotten movies we love ratings President HBO Max Box Office game show Rock Film talk show Mary Poppins Returns cancelled television Marvel FX on Hulu Film Festival binge Comedy Central cancelled TV shows American Society of Cinematographers TIFF TV vampires Comedy LGBTQ Disney Channel cooking YouTube Red nature