Box Office: Pandas, Gay Panic Humor Provide Depth

June 9, 2008 | By Clint Froehlich | Creative

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Amy Graves / WireImage/Getty Images

The box office was smokin’ hot over the weekend of June 6-8, as two new films debuted to stellar results on top of strong holdovers. The box office hasn’t seen this kind of depth all year, and recorded the second-best June weekend ever (unadjusted for inflation, of course). After a solid May that underperformed last year’s blockbuster slate, the past two weekends have seen business rise greatly above year-ago levels. The rest of June could be just as strong.

Kung Fu Panda was tops with an estimated $60 million, making for Dreamworks Animation’s best non-sequel opening. The well-reviewed toon benefited from a paucity of options for kids, and has that market to itself until Wall-E takes over on June 27. Adam Sandler’s new laugher You Don’t Mess with the Zohan – which wasn’t treated as nicely by critics – came in second with a terrific $40 million. Holdovers Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and last week’s number one Sex and the City brought up the rear with $22.8 and $21.3 million respectively. SATC dropped over 60% from last weekend due to the initial fan rush, but at almost $100 million and counting, it is still a major success that has defied analyst predictions. Iron Man posted another solid hold with $7.5 million ($288 million cume, the year’s biggest hit thus far), while The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian crumbled once again, posting $5.5 million for a relatively weak $125 million cume. The first film in the franchise made nearly $300 million domestically. With international receipts added, Prince Caspian will still be a hit. Disney now has a couple years to figure out how to market the next entry (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) more successfully.

The coming weekend will undoubtedly post great numbers once again. This week’s top films should see reasonable declines, and two new (potential) blockbusters open, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening and Marvel’s re-do of one of the comic giant’s more popular characters, The Incredible Hulk. The same weekend last year produced a $58.1 million opening for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, while second place was Ocean’s 13 with only $19.7 million in its second weekend. The 2008 results will lay waste to those numbers.

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