Whilst “Speed Racer” got all the press as the biggest May tentpole movie to bomb this year, another film has more notably underperformed – the second ‘Narnia’ movie “Prince Caspian”.
The original “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” scored just shy of a $300 million domestic haul and just over $450 million internationally in its lengthy run starting in December 2005.
The new film however has only scored $99 million so far after its first two weekends, and had a notable drop-off in its sophomore session – leading many to question whether it will get much more than half that of the first film’s domestic total. The global haul is also just $50 million, but the film does not begin opening in many foreign markets until late next week.
In any case the shortfall has been enough that Disney CEO Robert Iger spoke to the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York this week and according to The Hollywood Reporter, he claimed the reason was a “very delicate, very fragile marketplace” and that “there’s just too much out there”.
“Caspian” opened May 16th, wedged between the bigger-than-expected “Iron Man” and the guaranteed blockbuster “Indiana Jones”. From the get-go though the film faced a tough battle – marketing for the film seemed less pervasive than ‘Wardrobe’ and was drowned out by the much louder ‘Iron Man’ advertising. The ‘Caspian’ story is generally considered amongst the weakest of Lewis’ books, the film itself resembled more of a medieval war movie than the child fantasy adventure of the previous film, even reviews were generally a touch weaker for “Caspian” and reports of the violence (which really push the ‘PG’ rating of the film) have turned off some of the original’s audience.
What this means for the future of the franchise is uncertain, Iger made no further comment just yet. The next film, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, is generally considered amongst the best of the books with a very marketable pirate style theme to it. The film is currently set for release May 7th 2010 but if “Caspian” continues to underperform, it may just be pushed back to December that year to try and recapture some of the first film’s glory.