'Shrek Forever After' still #1, after Prince of Persia and Sex and the City 2 underwhelm.

‘Shrek’ Leads Slow Memorial Day Weekend

on May 31, 2010 by Daniel Garris

Paramount's Shrek Forever After remained at the top of the box office over the four-day holiday weekend with an estimated $55.73 million. The computer animated film from DreamWorks was able to remain in first place thanks to a very solid second weekend hold and the under-performances of Warner's Sex and the City 2 and Disney's Prince of Persia. Shrek Forever After fell 21 percent from last weekend's three-day debut. In comparison, 2007's Shrek the Third fell 45 percent over Memorial Day weekend, while Shrek 2 fell by just 12 percent. Though Shrek Forever After opened to underwhelming numbers, the film has held up nicely thus far thanks to better word of mouth than that of Shrek the Third, from appealing strongly to family audiences and its continued higher-priced 3D admissions. Shrek Forever After has grossed an estimated $145.48 million through 11 days, placing it 33 percent behind the pace of Shrek the Third.

After opening in third place over the three-day frame, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is expected to finish in second for the four-day frame with an estimated $37.78 million. The expensive big-screen adaptation of the Prince of Persia video game series grossed $30.07 million in its first three days. Though it was marketed and positioned as a summer tent-pole release, the film only opened slightly larger than recent video game adaptations such as the Resident Evil sequels and 2006's Silent Hill. However, Prince of Persia had a much more respectable international performance this weekend. After a very average start in select international markets last weekend, Prince of Persia picked up steam this weekend to gross $67.0 million from 47 markets when including Monday. The film's international total gross currently stands at $95.5 million.

Sex and the City 2 was the favorite heading into the weekend, but the sequel to 2008's Sex and the City had to settle for third place over the four-day frame with an estimated $37.15 million. The film finished in second over the three-day frame with $31.15 million. When including Thursday's opening day gross of $14.21 million, the film grossed $51.35 million in its first five days of release. While that was by no means a disastrous performance, it was well below expectations. Furthermore, the film's five-day gross was slightly less than the $56.85 million three-day gross of Sex and the City. The other troubling aspect for Sex and the City 2 is that it was still very front-loaded towards Thursday and Friday despite the smaller daily grosses along the way. That isn't a good sign for the film going forward.

On the positive side of things, Sex and the City 2 did open strong internationally. The film grossed $27.6 million from 17 international markets. Highlights included $9.2 million in the United Kingdom, $7.3 million in Germany and $2.4 million in Italy. The debut of Sex and the City 2 was 24 percent stronger than the debut of Sex and the City in the United Kingdom, 23 percent stronger in Germany and 4 percent stronger in Italy.

With there being plenty of room in the marketplace this weekend, Paramount's Iron Man 2 benefited as a result. After not holding up especially well in its second and third weekends, the blockbuster sequel was down 22 percent this weekend with a four-day gross of $20.60 million. While that was a major improvement in the film's holding power, Iron Man 2 still wasn't quite able to match the 18 percent decline 2008's Iron Man experienced over Memorial Day weekend. Iron Man 2 has grossed $279.18 million in 25 days, placing it 8 percent ahead of the pace of Iron Man and 9 percent behind 2007's Spider-Man 3.

Universal's Robin Hood rounded out the top five over the holiday weekend. The big-budget action film grossed $13.60 million, which was down 28 percent from last weekend's three-day performance. Robin Hood has grossed $86.32 million through 18 days and is still on course for a final domestic gross in the neighborhood of $105 million.

As a whole, the Memorial Day Weekend box office was very slow this year with an estimated combined four-day gross of $191 million. When adjusting for ticket price inflation that represented the lowest adjusted combined gross for a Memorial Day Weekend since all the way back in 1993. That weekend was led by Sylvester Stallone vehicle Cliffhanger and coincidentally saw the disappointing launch of Disney's Super Mario Bros.

Tags: Robin Hood, Iron Man 2, Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Shrek Forever After

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