Box Office Preview: Iron Man Launches Summer Movie Season

Made of Honor looks to conquer second place.

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Moviegoers not interested in men made of iron will have a chance to turn down the testosterone and dig into the new romantic comedy Made of Honor. The PG-13 film stars Patrick Dempsey as a man secretly in love with his female best friend played by Michelle Monaghan who is set to marry another man. Sony is targeting adult women with this one which is strategically positioned as counter-programming to the Marvel super hero flick. The plot involving a male maid of honor has appeal and wedding-themed comedies in general are always popular. Also female-skewing movies in general have been doing quite well this year.

Dempsey has a chance to test his solo starpower at the box office now that's he's risen to stardom again thanks to Grey's Anatomy. However female starpower is lacking as Monaghan is no major draw. Bad reviews will turn away some folks too. Competition will come mostly from Universal's pair of hit comedies Baby Mama and Forgetting Sarah Marshall which are both pulling in healthy numbers simultaneously. Honor's overall marketing push has been strong and has targeted women effectively. Long-term prospects could be iffy given the debut next week of What Happens in Vegas starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. But for now, a solid second place opening right behind the main guest of honor seems appropriate. Entering 2,729 theaters, Made of Honor could collect around $14M this weekend.


Michelle Monaghan and Patrick Dempsey in Made of Honor

Tony Stark is not likely to steal away too much business from last weekend's champ Baby Mama. But McDreamy will. Made of Honor will play to the same audience of over-30 women so competition will be a factor. And younger females may even get caught up in the Iron Man hype. A 45% drop would give Universal about $9.5M boosting Baby Mama's ten-day cume to $31M.

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay scored a solid debut but will face a sharp decline because of the new super hero flick. Plus as a sequel, much of the total audience showed up early. Still by the end of its first full week in theaters it should beat out the $18.2M take that its predecessor Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle earned in its entire theatrical run. Sales could fall by 55% to around $7M putting New Line and Warner Bros. at $26M in ten days.

Universal's breakup comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall has been holding up well so a 35% drop could be in order. That would give the R-rated hit $7M for the frame and lift the cume to $45M. The Jackie Chan-Jet Li adventure The Forbidden Kingdom should fall harder and decline by 50% to roughly $5.5M. Total would climb to $47M.

LAST YEAR: Demolishing box office records, Spider-Man 3 kicked off the movie season with a jaw-dropping opening weekend gross of $151.1M smashing the all-time record and commanding a stunning 80% of all ticket sales in the marketplace. Sony's global blockbuster went on to capture $336.5M domestically making it the top-grossing film of 2007, but also the lowest-grossing installment in the webslinger franchise. Overseas was a different story as its international total of $555M and worldwide sum of $892M were both the best in Spidey history. A few scraps were left over for the other films led by three-time chart-topper Disturbia which ranked far back in second with $5.8M. Rounding out the top five were Fracture with $3.7M, The Invisible with $3.3M, and Next with $2.9M. The female-skewing new release designed as counter-programming was the Warner Bros. flop Lucky You which bowed poorly in sixth with $2.7M on its way to a pitiful $5.8M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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