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Walt Disney Co CEO Robert Iger said Wednesday that "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is underperforming at the box office because of competition from "Iron Man" and "Indiana Jones."

Since its May 16 release, the "Narnia" sequel has earned $99.6 million in North America, according to Box Office Mojo. Its 2005 predecessor, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," had earned $122.7 million in the same period. It went on to make date $291.7 million.

Disney originally had "Caspian" set for last Christmas, but delayed it in deference to "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep," a fantasy vying for the same audience.

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The studio might also have been taking into account the feelings of Walden Media, its production partner on "Narnia" and the production company behind "Water Horse." That film, distributed by Sony, earned just $40 million domestically.

Iger, speaking at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York, said "Prince Caspian" is a better movie than the first installment but because it was released between a couple of the year's biggest hits, audiences are overlooking it.

"Prince Caspian" was released less than two weeks after "Iron Man" and just six days before "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Both those pictures are headed into the $300 million area.

Iger lamented the "very delicate, very fragile marketplace" for movies in general, given that "there's just too much out there." As of now, the next movie in the "Narnia" series is set for release May 7, 2010.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Uploaded 05/29/2008
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