Last’s argument (particularly the economics) is persuasive. Whether the decline from the opening to second week will be 40-50% is questionable. It seems Narnia has high repeat viewer potential. I’m already planning on seeing it twice in the theatres. However, the idea that it will top King Kong for Kong’s opening weekend seems (economically) dubious.
Either way, I think the long-term revenue will go to Narnia, for one reason: children.
Here’s my brief comparison between some aspects of the two films.
1) Buzz. Advantage? Narnia. This is perhaps the most talked about and anticipated movie since the Passion of the Christ. The phenomenon that was The Passion transformed Hollywood, and many Christians are as excited to see this movie as they were The Passion. Its opening weekend is going to be huge.
2) Children. Advantage? Narnia. You can bet parents are going to take their children to Narnia multiple times. King Kong? Doubtful.
3) Nostalgia. Advantage? Narnia. Millions of people read the books as children. I highly doubt as many people have seen the original King Kong. Those visceral ties to childhood will go a long way for the adult audience, I think.
4) Quality. Advantage? King Kong. This surprised me. Right now, the Tomatoe-meter has King Kong coming in at a solid 100%. Narnia isn’t far behind at a solid 80%. It seems King Kong is a solid, well made-film with an emotional storyline.
5) Content. Advantage? Push. If values make a difference at the box office, then Narnia’s Christian mythology could drive it to the top. However, there’s nothing anti-Christian about King Kong. In fact, I am very optimistic that it will fit very well with the Christian worldview, if only implicitly.
One thing that may hurt Narnia: high-expectations backlash. Downplaying the movie because of high expectations could hurt the long-term revenue for the film.
I’ve now spent far too much of my evening thinking about Narnia and King Kong.