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Caspian‘s Box Office Blues

by Kasey McDonald May 29, 2008 3:39 pm
<i>Caspian</i>‘s Box Office Blues

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian has made $151 million in not quite two weeks, and Disney is totally pissed. Disney CEO Robert Iger said on Wednesday that Prince Caspian wasn't performing as well as had been expected and blamed the fact that its release date -- May 16th -- was too competitive. Disney had originally set the film for release in December of 2007, but the film would have competed with Caspian producer Walden Media's other fantasy film The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, which was shooting for the same audience. And for all the bitching about the release date harshing Narnia's box office buzz, The Hollywood Reporter points out: "It's an interesting thesis, considering Disney purposely moved the film to that date and, in doing so, turned the seemingly natural Christmas franchise -- the first installment featured a cameo from Santa Claus -- into a springtime experience." And truly, it's not as if anyone expected Indiana Jones 4, which opened just six days after the Disney film, to do poorly.

Iger -- speaking, ironically, from the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York -- said that though he thinks Caspian is a better movie than The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (which grossed $744.8 million worldwide) audiences are overlooking it because of all the other popular fare currently in theaters. This makes me wonder: Was Iger a presenter at the Strategic Decisions Conference, or was he an attendee who, after a few presentations, had the epiphany that it may not be a good idea to put his film up against such films as Iron Man and Indiana Jones? Because either way, really, it makes it appear as though Disney did not exactly assemble the crack team it was probably hoping for.

In any event I was a big fan of the C.S. Lewis books as a kid, and I plan to catch Prince Caspian this weekend. After, of course, I take in Indiana Jones.

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