Movie projector: ‘Nightmare’ to rule at home with $30 million while ‘Iron Man 2’ explodes to $100 million-plus overseas

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The domestic box office will be dominated by a new “Nightmare on Elm Street” this weekend, while moviegoers overseas will be blasting off with “Iron Man 2.”
Warner Bros. label New Line Cinema’s relaunch of the 26-year-old “Nightmare” horror series should be the most popular movie in U.S. and Canadian theaters this weekend with ticket sales expected to total about $30 million, according to people who have seen prerelease surveys.

But the movie industry’s biggest box-office receipts will come from abroad, where Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 2” is launching.


Paramount Pictures is releasing the movie in every major foreign territory except China, India, Germany and Japan a week ahead of the film’s domestic debut to get a jump on the World Cup, which starts June 11. Movie studios have altered their summer release schedules because the soccer tournament is expected to distract many foreign moviegoers.

The original “Iron Man” grossed nearly $100 million overseas on its first weekend in 2008, and the sequel is expected to be even bigger. When it opens in the U.S. and Canada next weekend, “Iron Man 2” is on track for a huge opening of about $150 million.

The highly anticipated picture, the first from Marvel since it was acquired by Walt Disney Co. this year, opened in six foreign territories Wednesday and collected $2.2 million, including $1.6 million in France.

After seven films over 10 years, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” has been dormant on the big screen since 1994, save for 2003’s “Friday the 13th” crossover “Freddy vs. Jason.”

New Line’s attempt to revive the series comes after its successful relaunch last year of “Friday the 13th,” which opened to a strong $40.5 million and went on to gross $65 million domestically.

The new “Nightmare,” which stars Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger, isn’t expected to do quite that well but should still be a solid performer for the studio given its production budget of about $35 million. The R-rated movie is tracking best with younger moviegoers, particularly young men.

It will probably fall off fast after its debut, however, given the tendency of horror audiences to turn out on opening weekend and the competition from “Iron Man 2” next week.

The only other new movie opening in the U.S. and Canada on Friday is the environment-themed comedy “Furry Vengeance,” which stars Brendan Fraser and looks to be a soft performer. Independent distributor Summit Entertainment is releasing the film, which it co-financed with Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi for about $35 million.

Surveys indicate it will open to a little less than $10 million, probably ranking behind “How to Train Your Dragon.” In its sixth weekend, the DreamWorks Animation hit is expected to take in more than $10 million, bringing its total to date to more than $190 million.

-- Ben Fritz