2012 Summer Movie Preview

daniel cohen predicts the biggest grossing films for the summer…

Sequels. Adaptations. Superheroes. Ridiculous budgets. Hype. I think you know what that means … summer movie time! And once again, the summer is stock piled with big anticipation.

And just like last year, I’ll be predicting the top 10 highest grossing films. And I need to redeem myself, because while my actual order wasn’t bad, my numbers were embarrassingly off. I definitely over predicted, so this year I’ll be going a bit more conservative. And let’s get this out of the way right now for those of you playing at home — I consider the summer movie season the first weekend of May to the last weekend of August. Hollywood needs to stop trying to convince me it begins in March. Leave me alone.

But enough about that, let’s get into it: My Top 10 Domestic Box Office Predictions for Summer 2012.

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10) Rock of Ages (June 15th):

I guess this is sort of a bold call, but I see this as the ‘surprise’ hit of the season. There always has to be a comedy that rakes in the dough, and I think this will make Bridesmaids-esque type money. The reason why it’s going to do really well is because it will bring in the Glee crowd, and that’s a pretty damn big crowd. Plus, the appeal of Tom Cruise as an eccentric 80’s rocker is also a solid hook. The film’s heavy metal laden soundtrack could also bring in the guy audience that these movies don’t usually get.

What it has going for it: The Glee crowd
What it has going against it: The movie could be absolute shit

Domestic Take: $155 Million

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9) G.I. Joe: Retaliation (June 29th):

Say what you want, but a lot of people really dug the first movie. Adding in The Rock and Bruce Willis also helps. The trailer is getting a good reaction as well. Not much to say on this one: It’s an action sequel to a known franchise.

What it has going for it: Good first movie, and the addition of Bruce Willis and The Rock
What it has going against it: The Amazing Spider-Man opens four days later

Domestic Take: $165 Million

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8) Ice Age: Continental Drift (July 13th):

Is this really the fourth movie in this franchise? Each of the previous films has made more money than its predecessor ($176 mil, $195 mil, $197 mil). I have to think some fatigue will set in with this one, so a drop off is coming, but it won’t be much. And even though a certain Batman movie opens the following week, it will still be able to dominate the kid crowd for the rest of the summer.

What it has going for it: A well known kid’s franchise
What it has going against it: Do kids really still care about this series?

Domestic Take: $175 Million

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7) Men in Black 3 (May 25th):

Speaking of franchises we haven’t heard from in a while, how about a third Men in Black movie? I’ve never been a big fan of this series. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even seen the second one. But I guess someone in Hollywood still thinks it has legs. I remember no one liking the last one, so it looks like Will Smith will have to single-handedly bring in its haul, and that’s not a bad thing to bet on. But there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of buzz here.

What it has going for it: Will Smith
What it has going against it: This franchise still exists?

Domestic Take: $178 Million

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6) Brave (June 22nd):

I had a really hard time predicting this one, because Pixar films are usually money in the bank 200 mil+, but not only did last year’s Cars 2 disappoint slightly at the box office, nobody liked it. I get the sense this pissed off a lot of Pixar loyalists, and Brave might have to get penalized for it. Not only that, but I personally think the trailer looks terrible. I hope I’m wrong, but since Toy Story 3, the quality of Pixar movies seems to be on a downward trend. I think this will still do well, but we are starting to see some chinks in the Pixar armor.

What it has going for it: It’s Pixar
What it has going against it: Underwhelming trailer

Domestic Take: $180 Million

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5) Prometheus (June 8th):

This was by far the most difficult movie to predict. I could honestly see this making anywhere from $120 to $350 million. Sci-fi movies are always a crap shoot. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I think this movie is going to do really well, but it’s definitely an unknown. If this movie is going to be financially successful, it has to be amazing. It’s not going to get by on just being ‘pretty good.’ I don’t think it’s going to have a huge opening weekend, but this could be a Rise of the Planet of the Apes situation, where the good word of mouth propels it to financial success, and maybe even on a wider scale than Apes. I pray this movie is awesome, and I pray it does well.

What it has going for it: The trailers look bad ass
What it has going against it: Sci-fi is a niche audience, but when it hits, it hits big

Domestic Take: $195 Million

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4) The Bourne Legacy (August 3rd):

The Bourne movies have been very successful, everybody loves them, and this one will be no different, despite no Matt Damon. It’s not like Jeremy Renner is a slouch. He did alright for himself in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. I guess some people could get a little skittish about the changing of the guard, but I think the Bourne name sells itself. This movie’s biggest hurdles are that it opens only two weeks after the Dark Knight Rises, and on the same weekend as Total Recall. I don’t think Total Recall is a huge hindrance, but it could chip away at its opening weekend a little bit.

What it has going for it: People love the Bourne movies
What it has going against it: How much will Matt Damon be missed? It’s also been five years since the last movie…have we moved on from this series?

Domestic Take: $215 Million

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3) The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3rd):

I have no doubt this will be successful, but there’s going to be a blow back effect from the reboot shenanigans, and the fact that people hated Spider-Man 3. Here’s what the previous three Spider-Man movies made respectfully: $404 mil, $373 mil, and $337 mil. I don’t think it’s going to hit those numbers, and I’m basing this on the history of the X-Men franchise. While the third X-Men movie succeeded financially, it was not received well. Those numbers affected X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which fared even less with audiences. And those numbers affected X-Men: First Class, despite the fact that it was highly regarded by fans and critics. The Amazing Spider-Man is going to take a lick for Spider-Man 3, even though this series is a reboot. But even the reboot in itself will turn people away, as it’s confusing to understand for people who don’t follow this stuff on a regular basis. The Spider-Man name will still carry this film to a very good haul, but it’s not going to be as successful as the previous entries.

What it has going for it: It’s Spider-Man
What it has going against it: It’s a reboot, the last movie sucked, and it’s sandwiched between the two other superhero films this summer

Domestic Take: $238 Million

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2) The Avengers (May 4th):

It’s the kick-off to the summer, it’s been building for five years, it’s got Iron Man in it, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s going to do very well. I don’t think it’s going to be that much better than Iron Man numbers though. I’m also a little bit concerned about how good this movie will actually be. There’s a lot of hype around it, and it could easily fall way short of it. At the end of the day, this will be ridiculously successful, but I could definitely see it being disappointing, which will hinder some repeat viewings.

What it has going for it: Even the average moviegoer knows this is a team up movie with five other films tying it together
What it has going against it: If it’s not good, people will get pissed off, and not go back for repeat viewings

Domestic Take: $340 Million

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1) The Dark Knight Rises (July 20th):

Come on? Could it really have been anything else? The question is not whether this movie will be number 1 or not, but rather by how much. Even with all the anticipation surrounding it, I just can’t imagine this film reaching the $533 million dollars the Dark Knight did. That was just a perfect storm that unfortunately involved the tragic death of Heath Ledger playing the most iconic comic book villain of all-time. But at the same time, it wouldn’t shock me if Rises made even more. Remember, this is going to be an ending to the trilogy, and people always come out for something being billed as an ending. The last Harry Potter movie had an opening weekend that was significantly bigger than the other Potter films, and was even record breaking. We know Batman is going to open BIG, but its final gross will depend on how good this movie atually is. With the exception of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, I can’t remember a movie getting more hype than this one. I don’t think it’s possible to live up to it, but with Christopher Nolan, you never know…

What it has going for it: It’s kind of a big deal
What it has going against it: The hype has reached Episode I levels

Domestic Take: $485 Million

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.