While Iron Man may have crushed Speed Racer in last week’s box office grand prix, the man in metal will most likely be slain handily by Disney’s family fantasy adventure The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
The early numbers are not always right, but they were right on the money last week when they predicted a slow start for Speed Racer. Conversely, early tracking numbers from the Steve Mason of Fantasy Moguls indicates that Prince Caspian might be looking at a weekend between $60 and $70 million. This isn’t bad for the month of May in a weekend that used to be considered outside of the summer movie season.
A debut of this magnitude for Prince Caspian would be an early win for Disney this summer, and the studio still has a couple big releases that includes Pixar’s Wall-E in late June. It would also be a big win for Walden Media’s financier Philip Anschutz, whose company rose from the Around the World in 80 Days ashes when the first Narnia movie debuted in 2005 with $65.5 million, leading to $750 million worldwide.
As happened last summer, the studios are getting out of each other’s way, at least for the first month. Unlike the presidential candidates, Prince Caspian is running completely unopposed this week, with Indiana Jones being its only new competition next week. And with the family audiences pretty much staying away from Speed Racer last week, the marketplace is an open field.
And if this Narnia movie proves as profitable as the last one was, it should pave the way for the remaining five books to be adapted, with the last one due in theaters in 2018.
Iron Man is sure to hold a solid audience this coming weekend, but after two strong weekends behind it, the superhero movie should be easily held back by the kids from Narnia.