Narnia opens with modest takings at U.S. weekend box office

"Not another epic fantasy film!" – a scene from "Prince Caspian"
20 May – "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" registered a respectable total of US$55 million to top the North American weekend box office, but the reportedly US$200 million sequel indicated a cinematic hiccup for the C.S. Lewis-based fantasy franchise.

Back in December 2005, the previous instalment "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was raking it in with a US$65.6 million start from fewer screens and ended up raking in US$291.7 million by the end of its theatrical run. This is also in line with the fact that due to the holiday season, first weekend takings in December generally end up with higher final grosses than they do in May.

In spite of the success of the LOTR and Harry Potter franchises, it was premature to assume "Prince Caspian" would overtake its predecessor in revenue, as blockbuster franchises don't usually maintain the same level of interest after the first film. C.S. Lewis, the literary source behind the Narnia films, was not as popular as those behind LOTR and Potter.

"Things were more interesting back when Edmund hated us!" – a scene from "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"
Also, two and a half years have passed since the first Narnia film, resulting in waning interest while the other two franchises made audiences wait only a year for their second adventures. In that time, the fantasy genre has experience a massive overload of similar movies such as "The Golden Compass" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles", and "Prince Caspian" looked similar, chock-full of CGI creatures and battle scenes.

The next movie in the franchise, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", is scheduled for release in the U.S. on May 7, 2010, a week after another sequel to the first summer blockbuster to hit our screens this season, "Iron Man 2." Speaking of "Iron Man", the flawed but likeable superhero held firm in the third weekend in U.S. release, down 38 percent to US$31.8 million. Flying to US$223.1 million in 17 days, it will soon exceed the total of "X-Men: The Last Stand".

Stay tuned for the results of the Malaysian weekend box office coming to you later today.

Related articles:
"Prince Caspian" [review] [showtimes] [forum]
"Iron Man" [review] [showtimes] [forum]