“Dawn Treader” cruises, but on torn sails

After this weekend, Walt Disney can breathe a sigh of relief and say “I told you so.” The company dropped the “Chronicles of Narnia” films after “Prince Caspian,” the second film, didn’t come nearly as close to the first, “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Picked up by 20th Century Fox and made with a much lesser budget ($155 million), the film took first place, but with a frightfully tiny $24 million

The other newcomer, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s “The Tourist” also underperformed (but not as drastically given the number of theaters), taking in $16.4 million.

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – $24 M (weekend) … $24 M (gross)
  2. The Tourist – $16.4 M … $16.4 M
  3. Tangled – $14.3 M  … $115.3 M
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 – $8.4 M … $257.6 M
  5. Unstoppable – $3.7 M … $74.2 M
  6. Black Swan – $3.3 M … $5.6 M
  7. Burlesque – $3.1 M … $32.5 M
  8. Love and Other Drugs – $2.9 M … $27.6
  9. Due Date – $2.58 M … $94.9 M
  10. Megamind – $2.52 M  … $140.2 M

So the most impressive feat of the weekend was “Black Swan” making $3.3 million in just 90 theaters. Almost good enough to break the top five. This big jump means audiences are starting to smell Awards Season.

“Unstoppable” posted an impressive fifth week in the top five, though considering the state of the box office, it only took $3.7 million to stay there. Tony Scott’s film is just a few million behind the total domestic gross of “Man on Fire.” When it passes that mark, it will be the director’s most successful film theatrically since 1998’s “Enemy of the State.”

Sadly, the “Narnia” series, unless it kills overseas as it’s bound to make more money abroad anyway, has likely seen its end. At this rate the film would be lucky to see $60 million in domestic receipts, which would be less than half the U.S. business of “Prince Caspian” and that was considered a small flop. So while “Dawn Treader” was made for $100 million less, the proportion does not even it out as that’s still more than half of what it cost to make “Caspian.”

Does the tidings of “The Dawn Treader” bode poorly or well for Disney this coming weekend when the massively publicized “TRON: Legacy” hits theaters? We shall see …


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