daniel cohen looks at what he believes will be the top 10 grossing films of summer 2011 …
The summer movie season is upon us, and I can’t remember a more chaotic and ridiculous line-up of films. This is going to be an old school WWF-style Royal Rumble.
Let me just give you a quick run down of the notable releases. Thor. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Kung Fu Panda 2. The Hangover Part II. X-Men: First Class. Super 8. Green Lantern. Cars 2. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2. Captain America: The First Avenger. Cowboys And Aliens. The Smurfs. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. Conan The Barbarian. Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World.
Okay, so to break that all down, you get:
4 Superhero Movies
2 Reboots/Prequels/Whatever you want to call them
2 Big Budget Spectacles with Notable Directors
1 Old Children’s Franchise
It’s going to be a blood bath at the box office, and I’m pretty damn excited to see what happens. I’m here to give you my Top 10 Domestic Financial Predictions. Where will they finish? It will be interesting to see how wrong I am when it all ends, but here we go …
10. X-Men: First Class (June 3)
The badass trailers certainly help its case, but there is a lot of negative energy surrounding it. Matthew Vaughn is a great director, and it could be awesome. It’s the true wild card of the superhero movies. The big shocker for me is that no X-Men film has ever gotten close to $300 million domestically. Let’s not forget, people are probably still pissed about X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The latter didn’t even get to $200 million domestically. This will have to be amazing and get great word of mouth to even make north of that.
What it has going for it: Matthew Vaughn can potentially make this a gem.
What it has going against it: Coming off of two bad X-Men-related movies.
Domestic Take: $225 million
9. The Hangover Part II (May 26)
This will do fine, but in a summer like this, I’m not sure if a comedy can hold its own against the big boys, even when coming off such a huge success. The trailer looks like the same old tricks as the first one. More screen time for Ken Jeong certainly gets me excited, but I don’t see this having the same success as the original.
What it has going for it: It’s the only straight-up big name comedy.
What it has going against it: Could be a clone of the original, and maybe over exposure on Zach Galifianakis. Seriously, he’s in everything.
Domestic Take: $230 million
8. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20)
This is my bold prediction. I don’t see a huge take for this, relative to the previous three. People were ‘ho-hum’ on the last two, and it just feels like the buzz is lack luster right now. Not to mention the fact that the third movie made significantly less money than the second one ($423 mil to $309 mil).
What it has going for it: The insane love for Johnny Depp and the Jack Sparrow character.
What it has going against it: A four-year gap since the previous entry; do people still care?
Domestic Take: $255 million
7. Green Lantern (June 17)
This is the hardest film to predict. I could see it completely bombing, but it could also be the highest grossing film of the summer. Green Lantern’s weird space opera vibe could hurt it with the average moviegoer. The first trailer released was met with huge backlash. The next one really needs to hit a grand slam. The posters also look cartoonish and silly. Ryan Reynolds helps, but DC/Warner Brothers’ recent track record of non-Batman superhero movies is not good. I will say this though; it has potential to be the best movie of the summer quality wise …or completely suck.
What it has going for it: Could be an incredible movie and get great word of mouth.
What it has going against it: I fear if it’s short of amazing, it will get lost in the shuffle and absolutely tank.
Domestic Take: $260 million
6. Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22)
The trailer is getting strong vibes. It looks great. Hugo Weaving is going to be a fantastic Red Skull. The fact that it’s the last hurrah of the summer superhero movies could help it or hurt it. This could definitely be overly corny and mediocre as well.
What it has going for it: A very strong trailer response.
What it has going against it: Released too late in the summer? Will people be jaded? Will it be another Edward Norton/Incredible Hulk situation?
Domestic Take: $270 million
5. Super 8 (June 10)
This will be interesting. In a regular run-of-the-mill summer, this would clean up. But in a year of superheroes and sequels, can the Spielberg/Abrams names carry a non franchise to a monster take? I think so. The hype is there, but that could also be its undoing. If moviegoers are pissed and disappointed, they won’t be going back for seconds. It’s going to have to really knock people’s socks off to make the money it wants too.
What it has going for it: J.J. Abrams. Steven Spielberg. The hype is in full effect.
What it has going against it: It’s not a sequel or franchise.
Domestic Take: $280 million
4. Cars 2 (June 24)
This is by far the biggest kid friendly option out there this summer. Oh yeah, and it’s Pixar. Here’s what the last three Pixar films did. Toy Story 3: $415 million, Up: $293 million, Wall-E: $224 million. Combined with the fact that it’s a sequel …it’s gonna clean up.
What it has going for it: Pixar.
What it has going against it: Cars is widely considered to be the black sheep of the Pixar library.
Domestic Take: $290 million
3. Thor (May 6)
I think because it’s the leadoff hitter, that propels it to a ‘cha-ching’ opening weekend. It’s getting great buzz, and with Kenneth Brannagh behind the camera, I’ve got to think the quality will be there. I see it as an Iron Man, which opened on the same weekend back in 2008. With that type of business, it puts it around No. 3.
What it has going for it: Strong buzz and the opening act of summer 2011.
What it has going against it: The premise of Thor may come off as silly to average moviegoers.
Domestic Take: $313 million
2. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (July 1)
I wish I could say this will be lower because I hated the last one with a burning passion, but I can’t deny the fact that it made just over $400 million domestically. And I have to think this will be better than the previous entry. It’s not possible to get worse.
What it has going for it: It’s a money in the bank franchise, even if it sucks.
What it has going against it: Will the stink of the last movie hurt it enough opening weekend?
Domestic Take: $340 million
1. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (July 15)
I’m going with the wizard as champion of the 2011 box office brawl. Much like Green Lantern, I think it has potential of being an incredible movie. But unlike Green Lantern, it’s a known commodity. You might think this is the obvious choice, but it’s kind of an upset. The highest grossing Potter film domestically is still the first one ($318 mil), and that was back in 2001 (lower ticket prices). And besides the second and third films, they’ve all been a consistent high 290s/low 300s in millions. The biggest reason it’s going to sky rocket though is because it’s the final chapter. People are going to want to see how this ends, even if they aren’t huge fans. And unlike the other Potter films, this is a straight up action spectacle. It could even reach record breaking numbers if it’s as good as it can be. That last trailer was pretty fricking badass. Out of all the movies this summer, this is my most anticipated, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
What it has going for it: This is it for Harry and the gang …
What it has going for it: Enormous hype …will it live up?
Domestic Take: $370 million
Will my predictions come to fruition? I don’t care. I just hope the quality on all these films is there. And who knows? Maybe Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World starring Jessica Alba will be the biggest money maker. You never know …