SATURDAY AM: As expected, Marvel's Iron Man is the blockbuster No. 1 for the second week in a row. According to distributor Paramount, it took in a str0ng $15 million Friday from 4,111 theaters (-62% from its opening) for what should be a $50 million weekend. Its new cume is a monster $141.4M. But the big story this weekend is what a big bomb Warner Bros' has released. It's now official: Speed Racer is the first domestic box office disaster of the summer (although the PG pic should do better overseas). It placed only No. 3 Friday, well behind Fox's romantic comedy What Happens In Vegas, which opened with $7.1 million from 3,215 venues for what should be a $20 million weekend.
But back to Speed Racer: despite a wide release into 3,606 theaters, the anime actioner opened Friday with only $6.1 million (and some studios said it was merely $5.7M). Even if today's kiddie matinees generate some of the usual high-octane and the movie moves up a notch to second place, it still won't move Speed Racer out of the slow lane or approach Warner Bros' own expectations of a mid-$30s million debut (and that was down from a hoped-for $40 mil a few days before...). The alarming fact is this film will struggle to even make $20 million for the weekend. At an estimated cost of at least $140 million (some sources put the final budget as high as $185 million), this family fare is yet another case of a studio letting talent run amok: the Wachowski siblings of Matrix fame delivered a long, loud, and lousy movie that the Warner Bros bosses were contractually powerless to fix.