Sunday, May 04, 2008

If you check the news on most internet outlets or listen to the radio right now), you'll see news about the film Iron Man having had a $100 million plus weekend. Specifically, boxofficemojo has the number at about $750 thousand over the 100 million mark. This is somewhat of a big deal as only a small handful of films have ever grossed that much in a 3-day period. Spiderman was the first to do it in 2002 and since then, I believe 6 other films have done it (Matrix Reloaded, Pirates of the Carribean II and III, Star Wars III, Shrek II and Spiderman III, correct me if I'm wrong).

Does anyone ever wonder how the reports of the box office weekend can come out before the weekend is over? Movie theaters around the country are just beginning to close at this hour and the general managers are counting up the revenue produced at the box office for the day. That's an entire third of the weekend. Well, what actually happens is that the box office gurus predict the weekend count based on Friday and Saturday's take and extrapolate for what Sunday is supposed to be. On Monday afternoon and even on Tuesday, studio estimates will continually be updated as returns come in. So the actual figure of whether Iron Man grosses $100 million dollars is a very loose figure, but it still is one that newspapers will take and run with tomorrow morning. Keep in mind, the actual figure could be higher or lower than the current estimate, but either way, $750 thousand is a small enough margin of error, that newspapers should mention because if they don't, it wouldn't be an entirely honest headline that will line the top of the arts/style/life sections of newspapers nationwide tomorrow morning.

So whatever happens, Iron Man is pretty much now a hit and has made history as the first non-sequel film since Spiderman to gross $100 million in a single weekend, even if it really hasn't. Five years ago, Matrix Reloaded was given a very low exit score by dissapointed viewers walking out the theater, and it's not particularly well-remembered today but as far as the studios are concerned, it will always be known as a commercial success for its historic first weekend and history is likely to repeat itself tomorrow morning.

On a side note: The opening number for a weekend box office gross is very important, as movie theaters make a mid-week decision as to what to run the following week, based on weekend box office figures. As a result if a film doesn't have a good opening weekend, it haseven less of a chance of doing well the second weekend and each subsequent weekend thereafter, so be sure to see a film you want to support between Friday and Monday.

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