Posts Tagged ‘Summer Movie Season’

Iron Man 2 Week (All Week)

May 4, 2010 1 comment

Well the Summer Movie Season has finally arrived. I will keep an open post going with any and all Iron Man 2 tidbits I come across.

The Weekend Warrior is out the the first major projection for the opening weekend number — $162.3m

Over on the HSX boards, user “notfabio” has posted the MTC and RS tracking numbers for Iron Man 2’s opening weekend.
RS – Low $160’s aka $160m-$162.5m
MTC – $150m

5/6 Update
I predicted nearly two weeks ago that “Iron Man 2” would receive the widest release in movie history. And indeed, Nikki Finke of told us yesterday… “Here’s one for the record books. When it arrives in theaters tonight at midnight, Iron Man 2 will have the widest initial release in Hollywood history with Paramount launching the Marvel comic book caper in 4,380 locations. The previous widest opening had been Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight with 4,366 venues.”

Noted box office prognosticator Gitesh Pandya has come in with a $148m prediction over at Box Office Guru

Another excellent box office prognosticator Yun Xia has posted a $155m projection for this weekend.


Can “Iron Man 2” Take Down “The Dark Knight?”

April 25, 2010 3 comments

The “Summer Movie Season” is right around the corner, and the tent pole for 2010 looks to be Paramount’s “Iron Man 2,” opening May 7th and starring Robert Downey Jr. and most of the same cast from the original “Iron Man” that came out two years ago. There has been some buzz in the last couple weeks that “Iron Man 2” might take down the all-time opening weekend record that currently belongs to “The Dark Knight,” which raked in an astounding $158.4m in 4,366 theaters in the third weekend of July 2008.

Just for a quick reminder, the original “Iron Man” grossed $98.6m in 4,105 theaters in its opening weekend. The film also grossed an additional $3.5m in pre-midnight Thursday showings the day before its release. Paramount has already announced that in an effort to maximize the weekend number for the sequel, there will be no Thursday evening showings, and fans will have to wait until Friday 12:01am for the first screenings. Thus, for the purposes of projecting the “Iron Man 2” opening weekend box office total, we should use $102.1m ($98.6m + $3.5m) as the “effective” opening weekend tally for “Iron Man.”

The first two logical steps in projecting whether “Iron Man 2” can beat “The Dark Knight” are to factor in ticket price inflation and theater count increase. For ticket price inflation, using Box Office Mojo’s ticket price inflation data, we see that prices in 2010 are an estimated 6% higher than they were in 2008. So all other things being equal, using just ticket price inflation we can expect “Iron Man 2” to gross $6.1m (6% x $102.1m) more than “Iron Man.” With regards to theater count increase, the original “Iron Man” debuted in 4,105 theaters in its opening weekend. Due to expansion in the industry, “Iron Man 2” will debut in more theaters than the original. The question is “How many more?” As previously mentioned, “The Dark Knight” debuted in 4,366 theaters in July 2008. “Iron Man 2” should be able to duplicate that number, if not add to it. For argument’s sake let’s assume that “Iron Man 2” debuts in 4,400 theaters. That number would represent a 7.2% increase over the original “Iron Man.” Once again, all other things being equal, using just theater count increase, we can expect “Iron Man 2” to gross $7.3m (7.1% x $102.1m) more than “Iron Man.” BIG PICTURE (in case you’re falling asleep)…when factoring in just ticket price inflation and theater count increase, we can reasonably expect “Iron Man 2” to gross $115.5m ($102.1m + $7.3m + $6.1m) in its opening weekend. This number is of course $42.9m shy of “The Dark Knight’s” opening weekend record. So where is the rest going to come from? Organic growth.

Organic growth in movie audience size is kind of a sticky wicket. There is no hard and fast formula that says input X, Y and Z numbers from the first movie and boom, here’s how much the sequel will make. Case in point, take a look at some opening weekend box office figures for recent movie franchises. (The numbers in parentheses are year and theater count. And yes I am aware that these increases are already factoring in ticket price inflation and theater count increase, and thus the true organic growth increase is obscured, but these franchises do provide good comparisons nonetheless).

Spider-Man (2002, 3615) $114.8m
Spider-Man 2 (2004, 4152) $88.2m
Spider-Man 3 (2007, 4252) $151.1m

Pirates of the Caribbean 1 (2003, 3269) $46.6m
Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (2006, 4133) $135.6m
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (2007, 4362) $114.7m

Batman Begins (2005, 3858) $48.8m
The Dark Knight (2008, 4366) $158.4m

Star Wars Episode I (1999, 2970) $64.8m
Star Wars Episode II (2002, 3161) $80.0m
Star Wars Episode III (2005, 3661) $108.4m

X-Men (2000, 3025) $54.4m
X-Men 2 (2003, 3741) $85.6m
X-Men 3 (2006, 3690) $102.8m

Twilight 1 (2008, 3,419) $69.6m
Twilight 2 (2009, 4,024) $142.8m

The first thing that jumps out is that it can really go either way with a sequel. Tossing out the Spider-Man franchise (there are lots of reasons that I don’t have time to discuss here as to why the original trounced the sequel at the box office), you can see that a sequel either follows the moderate-growth scenario (approximately 25-50% increase) or the explosive-growth scenario (200%+ increase). Based on the popularity of the original “Iron Man,” it is highly unlikely that the sequel takes the explosive-growth scenario. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t have enough organic growth to beat “The Dark Knight.”

One decent indicator of organic movie audience growth is DVD sales of the original film. Some were surprised by the huge box office increase for “Transformers 2” over “Transformers” (not listed above because both were mid-week debuts). But “Transformers was actually the #2 top-selling DVD of 2007, a fact that was a good indication of the success of the sequel. “Iron Man” sold a princely 8.4 million DVD units in 2008, which is extremely strong considering that “The Dark Knight” sold only 2.5 million more units in the same year. Certainly the DVD sales number indicates that “Iron Man 2” will be able to significantly out-earn the original.

There is no question that “Iron Man 2” will be a massive four-quadrant (children, adult men, adult women, older folks) hit. I think that 20% organic growth is all but guaranteed. This would put the base gross at $122.5m, plus the $13.4m additions for ticket price inflation and theater count increase, giving a tally of $135.9m. However, I think “Iron Man 2” will do better than 20% organic growth. Why? My main argument is that “Iron Man” had good legs. No, not Heidi Klum legs, but legs as in staying power at the box office. The weekend gross for most action movies drops 50%+ in its second weekend and then 40%+ in every weekend beyond. “Iron Man” did drop 48% in its second weekend, but then managed to drop only 37%, 35% and 34% in its 3rd, 4th and 5th weekends. In fact, the movie made $100m in the 14 calendar days immediately following its opening weekend. What’s the point? There were a lot of people who skipped the opening weekend but then heard the buzz and the reviews and went to see the film shortly after it came out. I think that this time around, a good percentage of those same people will go during the opening weekend of “Iron Man 2” instead of waiting a week or two. Right now, my best guess is that the film could see approximately 35% organic growth, which would equate to an opening weekend of $151.2m, OH SO CLOSE to “The Dark Knight’s” record of $158.4m.

Stay tuned!