The Speed Racer fallout just keeps getting uglier. We reported yesterday that other studios were crying foul at Warner Bros. estimated $20.2 million gross for Speed Racer over the weekend. The studio was accused of inflating its numbers so that Speed Racer could squeak past What Happens in Vegas to grab the #2 spot for the weekend. Insiders like Nikki Finke were suggesting that the actual numbers for Speed were something like $19.7 million.

Now the actual numbers are in, and the truth is even uglier. Speed Racer made a mere $18.5 million, putting it well behind Vegas, which finally clocked in at $20.1 million. You may ask yourself, how on earth did Warner Bros. fabricate $2 million dollars and tack it on to their totals? Not being a box office expert, I have no clue, but I imagine it’s some combination of wishful thinking, fuzzy math, and perhaps out-and-out skullduggery. It seems petty to fight over rankings on a chart, but when you’ve got what was expected to be a bona fide summertime hit, it’s one thing to be beaten by the reigning box office champion, but another to be beaten by an entirely mediocre romantic comedy that virtually no one liked.

As everyone parses over just what went wrong with Speed Racer, it’s becoming a kind of beat-up-the-Wachowskis festival in the press. Sad to say, but they deserve much of the blame—the movie was unforgivably long, and instead of aiming the thing squarely at kids, they aimed for this kind of adrenaline-junkie nostalgia that never hit its target.

Now the big question is, exactly how much worse will Speed Racer do? Will parents figure out that it might not be so bad for their kids after all, and take the little ones when Prince Caspian is sold out? Well, given that Caspian is booked for 3800 screens this weekend, it’ll be tricky for every single one of those theaters to sell out. So, yeah-- Speed Racer is as dead as any animal that ever died, and you all saw it happen. To repeat a phrase that’s been thrown around a lot today, talk about crashing and burning.
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