Film Weekend Per Total
1 Shrek Forever After $43,345,000 (-38.8%) $9,926 $133,095,000
2 Sex and the City 2 $32,125,000 $9,325 $46,333,000
3 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time $30,170,000 $8,275 $30,170,000
4 Iron Man 2 $16,035,000 (-39.2%) $4,215 $274,612,000
5 Robin Hood $10,305,000 (-45.1%) $3,055 $83,024,000
6 Letters to Juliet $5,900,000 (-34.5%) $2,088 $36,600,000
7 Just Wright $2,200,000 (-48.7%) $1,841 $18,197,000
8 Date Night $1,750,000 (-39.9%) $1,554 $93,447,000
9 MacGruber $1,477,000 (-63.5%) $580 $7,127,000
10 How to Train Your Dragon $1,025,000 (-46.1%) $1,242 $212,629,000


 This just in: a profound sense of shame.

Should we start with the bad news? Prince of Persia has a reported budget of $200 Million dollars, and if it didn’t work in America, it’s not going to work that much better over seas. It’s a strange perfect storm of half-good ideas, and had enough of them worked (Harry Potter director, up and coming actor and actress, brand name, etc.) you might have had a movie. But they also had a lot working against them (beautiful weekend, blockbuster fatigue, low cultural interest, a hurting economy) and they BLEW IT. They blew it. Throw in an ad campaign that didn’t excite, and the theory of the film is better than the practice. With a big budget action movie, it is fair to guess that a film like this was having pre-viz done in 2008, so –  with a number of the big summer releases – we may still be suffering the ripple effects of the writer’s strike. It may get close to $40 Mil by the end of business Monday, but the picture is going to have a hard time get anywhere near $100, and probably won’t. There’s also some inside baseball on this one as the film was one of the last of the old Disney regime, and studios have a habit of letting films like that fail because it makes no one look good if they do well. It’s petty, but it’s also a factor, and when you can say something looks like a piece of crap from a distance a lot of that is bad marketing. And even with a lot of money at stake, sometimes they leave money on the table.

Sex and the City 2 should have had a bigger opening, theoretically. The first film was a surprise hit, and they had to figure this would do about the same business at the end of the day, maybe a little less. But women didn’t run to the new one as men often do with sequels. Though it will be close to $60 Million tomorrow, the first one did $57 Million in three days and this might not do that in five. Women may not be as geared for opening weekend and all that as men, and it could play stronger, but I would expect it’s not going to do much more than double this five day for a grand total of around $120-$140 Million at best. Though international will make this profitable, the film has a reported budget of $100 Million, so what could have been a big money earner for everyone involved is going to be modestly profitable. With all the product placement, shouldn’t the budget even out to around six bucks? Seriously.

And in number one is Shrek 4, which won the weekend by default. Maybe they squeeze another $10-15 Million tomorrow, which gets it close but not quite to $150 Million. Next weekend everything should take a sizable hit, and we are three weeks away from Toy Story 3. Which means this Shrek film gets to $200. And maybe a little more. There’s a strong possibility it will do less than half what the second film did. I saw David Poland trying to spin this positively, but there’s no way to read these numbers in a positive light, especially with the bottom out of home video. Yes the film will make money, but Dreamworks ran the franchise into the ground.

Iron Man 2 is on the sure road to $300, which is good, though the franchise hasn’t grown, t’s doing about the same business as the last one. Playing level is a victory in comparison to everything else this weekend, though, and this should do as well – if not margially better – than the first film. Robin Hood shouldn’t have a problem getting to $100 million domestic, so hopefully international will kick ass (it’s now at $237 all-in, which was the film’s supposed budget. HALFWAY THERE, guys!). Date Night is on the hundred million dollar limp, and I think they’ll get it by hook or crook.

MACGRUBER! (so very sad) Next week there’s four major releases, so expect it to be gone. As John Lennon would say “So this is summer, and what have you done? One month over, and a new one… about to begin?”