Box Office Guru Wrapup: Fans Line Up for Freddy's Return

Iron Man 2 set records.

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Proving once again that he's not dead, Freddy Krueger returned to the top of the North American box office chart with his ninth cinematic outing in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street which drew a solid opening. But the overall marketplace was still in a late-spring funk with the Top 20 failing to reach $100M for the second consecutive frame. But the rebound is just a week away as this summer's kick-off picture Iron Man 2 made a loud entrance overseas grossing over $100M this weekend from international territories ahead of its domestic launch on Thursday night.

New Line Cinema's iconic horror franchise came back to life thanks to the top spot debut of the new version of A Nightmare on Elm Street which bowed to an impressive $32.2M, according to estimates, to score the seventh best April opening in history. Scaring audiences in 3,332 theaters, the R-rated redo averaged $9,665 per location and was extremely front-loaded over the course of the weekend. Friday launched with a stellar $15.8M including Thursday night midnight shows. Saturday tumbled 33% to $10.6M while Sunday is expected to drop by another 45% to $5.8M. Horror films, especially remakes and sequels, tend to attract their biggest crowd on opening day and then suffer sizable declines.
Nightmare's debut fell below the $40.6M bow of last spring's fright remake Friday the 13th, but beat out the $28.1M opening of 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre redo. All three were produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes which has cornered the market in this field. The new Freddy beat out the debuts of many other recent fright remakes like Halloween ($26.4M), My Bloody Valentine ($21.2M), and Prom Night ($20.8M).

While Freddy Krueger held a tight grip on domestic multiplexes, Tony Stark seized control of the rest of the world with Paramount and Marvel's international launch of Iron Man 2 which grossed a sensational $100.2M from 6,764 theaters in 53 markets around the world since its first debuts on Wednesday in certain territories. Leading the way were the United Kingdom with $12.2M from 528 sites, Korea with $10.8M from 855, Australia's $8.8M from 251, and France's $8.2M from 722. IMAX also set a new record for an overseas 2D opening grossing $2.25M from 48 large-format screens for a sizzling $47,000 average beating the old high of $2.1M set by Transformers 2 last summer.

Iron Man 2 opens next week in several more countries like China, India, Turkey, and Germany and will fly into more than 4,000 theaters across North America. Paramount had previously slated the Jon Favreau-directed sequel to open this very weekend but when Disney pulled The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader out of its May 7 date, Paramount pushed its tentpole back a week domestically. The Mouse House later dropped out of the Narnia business with Fox stepping in to release Dawn Treader this December 10 in 3D.
The Viking toon How To Train Your Dragon dropped out of the number one spot again but declined by only 30% to an estimated $10.8M boosting the cume for the 3D blockbuster to $192.4M. Look for the DreamWorks Animation-Paramount title to break the $200M mark next weekend. Last summer's Up from Pixar and Disney is the only other 3D animated film to ever cross the double-century barrier.

A pair of female-skewing comedies followed. Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey enjoyed the smallest dip among all wide releases dropping only 27% to an estimated $7.6M for a sturdy $73.6M total to date for Fox. The Jennifer Lopez pic The Back-up Plan fared well in its second weekend sliding a moderate 41% to an estimated $7.2M. With $23M in ten days, CBS Films should end up with a decent $40M or so.       

Opening in fifth place with dismal results was the family comedy Furry Vengeance starring Brendan Fraser which grossed an estimated $6.5M. Averaging a poor $2,169 from 2,997 locations (an unusually high playdate count for a film that has always had little to no buzz), the PG-rated film about forest animals seeking revenge on a real estate developer trying to build on their land played mostly to kids and moms. Though in its sixth weekend of play, Dragon proved to be a much stronger draw for families despite the higher 3D ticket prices so Furry suffered from both lack of consumer interest plus formidable competition.
Warner Bros. claimed the next two spots. The action thriller The Losers grossed an estimated $6M in its second mission dropping only 36%. But with only $18.1M in ten days and Stark Industries set to monopolize the action crowd starting this Thursday night at midnight, an underwhelming $30-35M final seems set. Clash of the Titans fell by 36% to an estimated $5.7M for a $154M tally thus far. Like most high-profile 3D films, Clash has been displaying good legs later into its run.

The super hero flick Kick-Ass fell 52% to an estimated $4.5M giving Lionsgate $42.2M so far. Death at a Funeral followed with an estimated $4M, down 50%, putting Sony's total at $34.8M. Disney's Oceans sank a disturbing 57% in its second weekend to an estimated $2.6M. With $13.5M in 11 days, the G-rated underwater doc should finish with less than $20M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $87.1M which was down 41% from last year when X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened in the top spot with $85.1M; and down 41% from 2008 when Iron Man debuted at number one with $98.6M. Comparisons are skewed since the summer movie season kicked off with major tentpoles on this weekend over the last two years.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, BOX OFFICE GURU!!!

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