"I am Iron Man." With those fateful words the fate of a new franchise was sealed. Last weekend, Iron Man got the summer season off to a roaring start with a take approaching $100 million. This weekend it took in an impressive $51 million, pushing its gross north of $175 million. Next week will see it become the first film of 2008 to cross the $200 million mark.
Its success is well deserved as it is a great comic book adaptation, and a wonderfully paced action film. While this week it remained securely in the top spot, it will see much more potent competition next week. Just remember not to let new competition stop you from seeing it a second time. It deserves it.
Surprisingly, the second place movie is What Happens in Vegas and not the expected Speed Racer. Anyway, Vegas is just the next in the long line of forgettable romantic comedies. I will say that it is better than last week's Made of Honor, but that doesn't say much. It stars Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher as the mismatched couple destined for, well... go see the movie if you don't already know how it ends. The genre is stagnant, and this doesn't help matters. I suspect it will be forgotten quickly and soon be relegated to the cheap bins at retailers around the nation.
Speed Racer was expected to open somewhere between $30 and $40 million. Coming out of Sunday, the studio predicted just over $20 million, but the actuals revealed that it just barely squeaked past $18.5 million. With this disappointing opening weekend, visions of a new franchise have quickly dissipated. It is a shame, as the movie is actually very enjoyable; it is like Willy Wonka's factory exploded onto the screen in a shower of kinetic energy. Yes, I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but the film elicits that sort of a reaction. It is filled with a lot of flash and a little substance, easily creating a childlike atmosphere. See it, enjoy it, tell your friends. I know, it is a hard sell, the advertising was rather weak, and the need questionable, but there is no arguing with the outcome.