Box Office: $56 Million is Less than Expected for Prince Caspian

The Reject Report

The headline of the hour is that The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was the Number One movie at the box office with a take of $56 million dollars. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news, because the studio and box-office pundits expected much, much more from this movie. The pundits were predicting $80-$90 million, while the Disney people were lowballing and predicting $60-$70 million. But as everyone knows, if you go “over” you lose on the TV show The Price is Right. Disney and Walden Media lose in the prediction game, and lose at the box office as well.

The trouble began Friday night when the movie only made $19.3 million on Friday and $20.4 on Saturday, and that was that. People had expected Prince Caspian to contend for second or third place for the whole summer, but that won’t happen based on these numbers. Meanwhile, Iron Man made $30 million dollars this weekend, so it just keeps on rolling, even though it’s not in first place anymore. It’s already made $222 million at the box office! I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Iron Man that finished Number Two for the summer, since everyone expected Indiana Jones to clean right up.

People are coming up with their lame theories for why Prince Caspian didn’t do better. I have nothing to add except two thoughts:

1. The recession!!! Nobody in Hollywood seems to be blaming the crummy numbers on a tight economy yet — but if we get more movies under-performing this summer, they might. In fact, I’m reading that box office is down for the summer season so far. No kidding, especially after last week’s Speed Racer wipeout.

2. This Prince Caspian movie was a freaking sequel, and people are sick of freaking sequels. They saw sequel after sequel last year and are sick of sequels! Is it any wonder why Iron Man did so well? Because it was a big-time original movie, and not a sequel! Maybe sequel fatigue will play a role and doom Indiana Jones. I think that’s a different situation though, because that character hasn’t been on the screen for a long time.

Maybe there was just a lack of enthusiasm for a sequel here. I looked around all these comment boards at these movie websites and a lot of people seemed unenthusiastic about the movie, even though they were predicting it to be one of the biggest hits of the summer. They were of the mindset that this was going to be a huge hit, but they had no idea why because they didn’t think the first one was so great. So I should have noticed the warning signs and lowered my predictions, but that Iron Man $100 million weekend just skewed things and I thought Prince Caspian would end up doing a lot better and be in Iron Man’s ballpark.

Anyway, $56 million is nothing to sneeze at, but people were expecting bigger things for Prince Caspian than this. Here’s a look at how the top ten fared:

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $56 million
2. Iron Man $31 million
3. What Happens in Vegas $13.8 million
4. Speed Racer $7.6 million
5. Baby Mama $4.6 million
6. Made of Honor $4.5 million
7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall $2.5 million
8. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay $1.8 million
9. The Forbidden Kingdom $1 million
10. The Visitor $687,000

Yes, $687,000 was all it took for The Visitor to make it into the top 10, and it was only in 224 theaters. In fact, it only took a $2.5 million take for Forgetting Sarah Marshall to finish in the top seven movies for the weekend. It really doesn’t seem as if there are a lot of movies doing big business at the theaters, other than a couple of ones at the very top.

That is all for this weekend. Join us later this week as we preview how Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will do.

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