"Iron Man 2" opened last Friday, earning more than $130 million in box office sales over the weekend. Enough to land the movie in position #5 for all-time top-grossing opening weekends. It's a big movie and, by most accounts, a great sequel; few expected anything less. Now that it's out, as is always the case during the summer blockbuster season, it's time for us to start thinking about what might top it.
Summer blockbuster season is a tough time to maintain box office dominance. In the long history of film, only one summer release has a place in the top 10 consecutive #1 box office weekends: "Back to the Future," released 7/3/85, spent 8 weeks in a row at #1. "Ghostbusters," released 6/8/84, comes after that in the #11 spot with 7 weeks on top. Make no mistake: "Iron Man 2" will be usurped. The question is, when?
I would call this week's blockbuster release, the Ridley Scott-directed "Robin Hood," a remote possibility, at best. While it is notable for re-teaming the Oscar-winning "Gladiator" team of Scott and star Russell Crowe, the buzz hasn't been overwhelmingly positive. What's more, summer blockbusters tend to be popular because of how much fun they are; "Robin Hood," in the trailers at least, definitely has a more serious tone that what one would normally expect of a May through August release.
The following Friday, May 21, brings two major release: "Saturday Night Live"-spawned comedy "MacGruber" and animated family-friendly sequel "Shrek Forever After." If either of those can swing the win over "Iron Man 2," it's "Shrek Forever After." Animated family comedies do big numbers during the summer, though "Shrek" arrives early enough that I'd still call it a wild card.
Assuming that the combined might of "Robin Hood," "MacGruber" and "Shrek" don't top it, one of the two blockbusters dropping that week will. Two giant movies appealing to two very different audiences: "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and "Sex and the City 2." Between those two, I expect we'll see "Iron Man 2" fall from that #1 spot by the time May ends. Which do you think will do it?