18 May 2008

Narnia Places Another Nail in the Fantasy Genre Coffin

After The Lord of the Rings trilogy mustered something like $3 Billion worldwide (not to mention a boy named Harry Potter that continues to roll), the floodgates were opened by studios hoping to cash in on the next big fantasy franchise. Lets see, there was the Inheritance Trilogy AKA Eragon (disappointment), the His Dark Materials Trilogy AKA The Golden Compass (financial disaster), The Spiderwick Chronicles (didnt earn back its budget), The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (nightmare) and Stardust (bomb). Only Narnia seemed to have found its audience with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe actually edged out Goblet of Fire back in 05/06. Then along came Narnia 2 - Prince Caspian.

Prince Caspian is a less well known, poorer written, less compelling entry in the Narnia series. Surprisingly, (enter sarcasm) the film opened smaller than Narnia 1. How much smaller, it looks like about $8 million less (for $57 Mil), but i guess thats enough to proclaim that the sky is falling. One concern is that Narnia 2 will have fierce summer competition from Indiana Jones and Iron Man which continues to marvel - earning another $31 mil in week 3. Narnia is now looking to make $200 million domestic, which is nothing to sneeze at (if you didn't spend that much making the movie, this is what I call Superman Returns syndrome AKA the $200 million bomb), and though Narnia 3 is already underway, we may not be seeing the other 4 books (you know the ones that actually haven't already been done) adapted.

Anyways, Narnia still wins the weekend with Iron Man in 2nd. And Narnia was no where near the catastrophe that was last weeks Speed Racer. If Disney and Walden are smart (uh oh) they would still continue the series with reasonable budgets. Narnia 4-7 would still make money, but they just aren't gonna top Lord of the Rings. Anyways, I think $200 million to make Caspian just is a bit high, though I hear digital rats aren't cheap to render.

Anyhow, Iron Man passed $200 million this weekend totaling $222 so far, $250 is a lock and $300 is well within grasp. Way to go Mr Ferite.


Shiro said...

Interesting headline for a movie that just made almost 60 million. We don't always agree, but honestly I still have high hopes for this one. It sounds like they taken some liberties but remained largely faithful to the book. I mean, it is at 71% at RT... I'll be seeing it this week sometime ahead of Indy, which is also getting pretty good reviews.

Anyway, a couple of friends hadn't seen Iron Man yet so we went to that yesterday... (That's six times for me now, and yes, worth every penny)...

Chip Chief said...

Its not that I dont want PC to do well, the trailers actually made the movie look more interesting to me than the book and I do want to check it out. I guess the main point of the post was that "insiders" are freaking out about the "under performance" which could hurt the chances of getting more Narnia or even more children's fantasy films. I think thats preposterous. A lot of these movies like Golden Compass for example, would not be such disasters if they spent a reasonable budget. I think most people expected PC to make less than Wardrobe, but not Disney. They still spent money like crazy forcing the film to have to make huge numbers to recoup.

anyways go IRON MAN!

Shiro said...

I understand your point. How on earth could a movie with almost zero "name" actors run up a $200 million budget?

The one thing to remember is that between another month or two at the box, and the fact that the target demographic doesn't always go on opening weekend, I think Prince Caspian will do just fine.

And if nothing else, the religious people will make sure it's a hit, especially on DVD. Remember what happened with Passion of the Christ? I think the whole Chronicles of Narnia is going to see a huge DVD following due to the allegorical themes left intact. A couple of my super-religious kids are gunning for this more than anything else this summer...

Chip Chief said...

The religious aspect of these films is a factor and they would have been wise to keep them coming during the holidays (as opposed to the atheist Golden Compass for Christmas).

Dawn Treader is a much stronger book and i believe more popular. Hopefully it does well enough to let us at least get The Silver Chair and The Last Battle, though the less well known Horse and His Boy is actually one of my favorites.

You are right too, there will be no shortage of DVD special editions to keep the cash flowing. The first Narnia had a ridiculous extended edition that only added scenes of people walking. Virtually no dialog or action. Lame.