Speed Racer

Warner Brothers

As it turns out, Speed Racer didn't have a bad opening weekend. It had a worse one.

Final grosses out today show the big-budget, high-octane movie sputtered to a debut of just $18.6 million, down from the $20.2 million that was projected Sunday.

To top it off, Speed Racer dropped a spot in the rankings, falling to third, behind Iron Man and the newly upgraded No. 2 movie, What Happens in Vegas.

 

Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations Co., correctly predicted Sunday that Speed's wheels would really come off come Monday.

"Every studio except Warner Bros. estimated they'd be in third place [with Speed Racer]," Bock said today.

One of Speed's problems: Mother's Day.

While most of the weekend's top films, from Iron Man to Baby Mama, did bigger than expected Sunday business, Speed Racer didn't.

"It's a pretty bad sign in terms of long-term legs," Bock said. "It just doesn't look like the film has any."

Things aren't likely to get better for Speed, which cost a purported $100 million—at least—to make.

Box-office experts from Bock to Box Office Mojo's Brandon Gray predict the film will be lucky to make back half of its production budget from its domestic run.

"It should be a struggle to pass the $50 million line," Gray said today.

Even adding in its worldwide take, Speed Racer only grossed $31.2 million over the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.

By comparison, Iron Man, which cost a reported $186 million, had its budget more than covered by its debut weekend. As of today, its worldwide take stands at $342.8 million.

Unlike Iron Man, Speed Racer never got its buzz going, this despite its lineage as a beloved 1960s cartoon and the presence of The Matrix's Andy and Larry Wachowski behind the camera.

"The movie lacked relevance," Gray said. "...It just wasn't that broadly appealing."

For Hollywood, at least, there is an upside to the downfall of Speed: According to Gray, its demise doesn't mean the overall summer box-office season is doomed.

Said Gray: "It just means Speed Racer did not do well."

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