Over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, two worthy opponents challenged reigning box office champion Shrek Forever After, but neither Sex and the City 2 nor Prince of Persia: Sands of Time were able to conquer America’s favorite ogre. The Shrek franchise is not as dominant as it once was, but the brand is still strong enough to ensure two straight weekends on top with a strong hold from last weekend’s opening. The girls of Sex and the City were runners up on Sunday, but Prince moved in to second place by the end of Monday. In fact, with less than a $1 million difference between the four-day totals, the order of the top five may not be finalized until tomorrow. Details after the jump.
|2||Prince of Persia||$37,800,000||$37.8|
|3||Sex and the City 2||$37,145,000||$51.4|
|4||Iron Man 2||$20,600,000||$279.2|
|6||Letters to Juliet||$7,250,000||$38.0|
|10||How to Train Your Dragon||$1,465,000||$213.0|
For the three-day weekend, Shrek Forever After faced a slender dip of only 39% from its $70.8 million take last weekend. Counting Monday, $55.7 million is a second weekend that DreamWorks can be proud of. Yet at this point in their runs, both Shrek 2 ($260 million) and Shrek the Third ($217 million) were well over $200 million, while it will take the fourth entry in the franchise until at least its third weekend to clear that hurdle. Though still very valuable financially, the animated series is showing signs of wear, so this may very well be the final chapter we see of Shrek as advertised (at least for awhile). Of course, there is that Puss in Boots spinoff promised for November 2011 . . .
Prince of Persia may have managed to sneak into the second place for the four-day weekend, though Disney may not have too much cause to celebrate. I’d imagine the $37.8 million first-weekend gross is a bit softer than the studio would have hoped for, with a reported $200 million budget for the Jerry Brukheimer production. Ideally, Persia would launch another adventure franchise for the Mouse House à la the Pirates or National Treasure films. Barring any miraculously strong legs in the face of lukewarm critical support, it looks like that Disney is not destined to spend much more time in Persia.
Like Shrek, the Sex and the City franchise seems to be experiencing the law of diminishing returns, though circumstances are far from dire. The first film earned $57 million in its first weekend in 2008, while the sequel has managed $51.4 million after five days in release. It may not be able to equal the original’s $415 million worldwide gross, but Sex 2 should do just fine in the coming weeks, especially once it starts to open in more international territories. We may be in store for another cinematic chapter in the lives of the New York socialites.
With another $20 million over the holiday weekend, Iron Man 2 should surpass $300 million domestically later in the week, while Robin Hood should hit the $100 million mark by next weekend as well. MacGruber continues its disappointing run, and should drop out of the top ten altogether before it can even total $10 million next week. How to Train Your Dragon is also likely enjoying its final turn in the top ten, though its turn has been much more impressive, with a worldwide total of $448 million.
It will be difficult for Shrek to stay atop the box office for a third weekend, though not impossible. There are three new films opening, but none are guaranteed hits. Get Him to the Greek is hoping it can succeed where fellow R-rated Universal comedy MacGruber failed, Marmaduke will try to lure family audiences away from the green ogre, and action-comedy Killers rides a wave of terrible buzz into the weekend. Check back next weekend to see how the chips fall.