'Speed Racer' gets passed in its debut

Monday, May 12, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- "Speed Racer" was lapped in its opening weekend at the box office as "Iron Man" continued to fire its jets with $50.5 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The anime-inspired race movie edged into the No. 2 spot with $20.2 million, slightly ahead of the 20th Century Fox comedy "What Happens in Vegas," which debuted at $20 million.

"Our tracking was stalled toward the end," said Dan Fellman, president of Warner Bros. theatrical distribution, about market surveys before the "Speed Racer" opening.

Fellman added "Speed Racer" would have difficulty recouping its $120 million budget.

"Unfortunately it didn't perform to our expectations," he said.

"Speed Racer" was panned by many film critics and was made by the Wachowski brothers, best known for the "Matrix" franchise.

Revenue for Marvel Studios' "Iron Man" slipped just 49 percent in its second week in theaters, a respectable showing considering its massive opening, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of tracking firm Media By Numbers LLC.

"'Iron Man' is basically pulling everybody's audience. It's really dominating the marketplace," he said.

Five of the top 10 grossing movies were comedies, including Sony Pictures' Patrick Dempsey-led film, "Made of Honor," which took in $7.6 million in its second week, for fourth place.

The weekend's total domestic box office gross hit $128 million, up 21 percent from last year. But year-to-date revenue was still down 2.5 percent at $2.93 billion, while attendance was off 5.3 percent.

Over the next few weeks, several big movies will take a shot at knocking "Iron Man" off its perch, starting with "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," opening May 16, and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" on May 22.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Iron Man," $50.5 million.

2. "Speed Racer," $20.2 million.

3. "What Happens in Vegas," $20 million.

4. "Made of Honor," $7.6 million.

5. "Baby Mama," $5.8 million.

6. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $3.8 million.

7. "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," $3.2 million.

8. "The Forbidden Kingdom," $1.9 million.

9. "Nim's Island," $1.3 million.

10. "Redbelt," $1.1 million.


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Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Vivendi Universal; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; DreamWorks, Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros., New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp; Marvel Studios is a division of Marvel Entertainment Inc.

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