LOS ANGELES (AP) – “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” dethroned “Iron Man” as ruler at the box office, pulling down $56.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Walt Disney Co.’s action sequel took in less domestically in its opening weekend than “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” which sold $65.6 million in North America in its debut weekend in December 2005. “Caspian” also raked in $20.7 million overseas.

But Disney expects the PG-rated movie, based on the C.S. Lewis fantasy series, to ride high through the coming Memorial Day weekend. The first “Narnia” tale grossed $745 million worldwide over its theatrical run.

“This is a film that we think is going to play all summer long and it’s got nothing but school holidays in front of it,” said Mark Zoradi, president of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Group.

Disney is in pre-production on the third of the series, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” set for release in the summer of 2010.

Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man” slipped to second place after two weeks at No. 1 with $31.2 million, bringing its domestic total to $222.5 million.

Paul Dergarabedian, president of tracking firm Media By Numbers LLC, said the flawed superhero flick is holding its appeal better than “Spider-Man 3” did the previous May.

“‘Iron Man’ continues to hold very well,” he said. “It’s definitely cutting into audiences across the board.”

The 20th Century Fox comedy “What Happens in Vegas,” starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, came in third, with $13.9 million in its second weekend. Its domestic total reached $40.3 million, well above its $35 million budget.

“It’s clearly the comedy, non-family movie in the marketplace right now,” said Chris Aronson, a Fox senior vice president.

Warner Bros.’ disappointing “Speed Racer” slowed to $7.6 million for fourth place, driving in $29.8 million over two weeks.

The studio said it was not ready to call it game over on the Wachowski brothers movie, which cost $120 million to make.

Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president of distribution, said next weekend was “do or die” for the movie.

Overture Films’ acclaimed drama, “The Visitor,” crept into 10th place at the box office with $687,000.

The distributor picked up the indie film, about a professor who discovers a couple living in his little-used New York apartment, at the Toronto Film Festival for a reported $1 million. It has grossed $3.4 million so far.

“It’s good to know that you don’t have to have special effects in your movie to make money,” said Overture Films’ senior vice president Adam Keen.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which received a somewhat ho-hum reaction at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, whips its way into theaters on Thursday.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” $56.6 million.

2. “Iron Man,” $31.2 million.

3. “What Happens in Vegas,” $13.9 million.

4. “Speed Racer,” $7.6 million.

5. “Baby Mama,” $4.6 million.

6. “Made of Honor,” $4.5 million.

7. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” $2.5 million.

8. “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” $1.8 million.

9. “The Forbidden Kingdom,” $1 million.

10. “The Visitor,” $687,000.



On the Net:

http://www.mediabynumbers.com



Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Vivendi Universal; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; DreamWorks, Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney’s parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros., New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Marvel Studios is a division of Marvel Entertainment Inc.

AP-ES-05-18-08 1422EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.