daniel cohen brings back his annual summer blockbuster prediction column…
Can you feel it? The Zombies. The Robots. The Capes. The Klingons. The … Smurfs? Yeah, they’re back too. But the Summer Movie Season is in the air, and while I sound like a broken record, it really does get bigger every year. And with Summer Movie Season comes BIG money for the studios, which means it’s time for my 3rd Annual Summer Box Office Movie Predictions! Because it wouldn’t be the summer without making really terrible box office prognostications. And while we aren’t going to get an Avengers this time around ($623 million domestic), there’s no shortage of blockbuster potential.
Every weekend there’s something massive opening, and I’m here to pick through all of it with my rich looking monocle as I count down my Top 10 Domestic Box Office Predictions:
10. 300: Rise of an Empire (August 2nd):
I’m shocked this made it in my Top 10. Back in 2007, 300 was one of the most surprising box office hits I can remember. But with this one, director Zack Snyder is gone, and there’s no Gerard Butler. And I just don’t hear any buzz on it whatsoever. But I can’t ignore the original making over $200 million. I’m giving the sequel a significant box office downgrade, but it’s still good enough to crack my top 10.
What It Has Going For It: I don’t think people have completely forgotten 300, and that’s enough to will it some cash flow
What It Has Going Against It: It feels like a forced sequel, and people are aware of that desperation, and might blow it off
Domestic Take: $138 Million
9. The Smurfs 2 (July 31st):
Yeah, they didn’t waste any time crapping this out. It’s a safe kid’s bet, and will do solid business. We’re getting a Smurfs 3.
What It Has Going For It: ‘Mom, I want to see the Smurfs!’
What It Has Going Against It: There’s a lot of kid fare this summer
Domestic Take: $150 Million
8. The Wolverine (July 26th):
When comparing it to other superhero movies, the X-Men box office take has been a little ho-hum lately. X-Men: First Class didn’t crack $150 million, but that didn’t have Wolverine. And despite absolute shit reviews, and an overwhelmingly negative buzz, X-Men Origins: Wolverine still managed to grab nearly $180 million back in 2009. The Wolverine will do a little better, but it will still have to suffer for the sins of the previous film. And if this isn’t a good movie, and doesn’t get great word of mouth, it could be a big problem for Fox and the X-Men franchise. It’s release date is also towards the end of July, and it’s the third superhero film of the summer… the fatigue could be setting in by then.
What It Has Going For It: It’s Wolverine
What It Has Going Against It: The last two X-Men movies haven’t done gangbusters
Domestic Take: $192 Million
7. Fast and Furious 6 (May 24th):
This is a franchise I would love to see go away. I can’t believe there’s a record of me giving a positive review to a Fast and Furious movie. I must have eaten a really good bagel that day or something. But there’s no denying people like these movies a lot. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m hoping this does a little worse then the previous entry. The one thing I’ll say for the last one is that it opened the last weekend of April before the summer melee really began. It got it’s big weekend, and then just coasted. The executives might be getting a little cocky in throwing this franchise back into the summer wolves … we’ll see.
What It Has Going For It: People know exactly what they’re getting
What It Has Going Against It: The Hangover Part III opens the same day
Domestic Take: $196 Million
6. The Hangover Part III (May 24th):
I think the Studio knows they can only make blockbuster money on this franchise with one more film. I don’t know a single person that liked the Hangover Part II. How many times did we hear ‘they just copied the first one!’ They are definitely doing the right thing in straying away from another ‘Hey, they are hung over again’ plotline. But I’m not sure about the marketing for this. Is this even a comedy? What’s with all the epic and action filled tone? It’s The Hangover … calm down. The sequel did worse then the original, and I think this one will go down even more. But at the end of the day, it’s still breaking $200 million.
What It Has Going For It: I think people want to see one last romp.
What It Has Going Against It: It may have to suffer dearly for Part II.
Domestic Take: $215 Million
5. Despicable Me 2 (July 3rd):
-I never saw the original, and don’t know too much about it. All I know is that people are crazy for those little weird yellow things. That’s what I’m going on here…the yellow guys.
What It Has Going For It: The Yellow guys that look like fat twinkies
What It Has Going Against It: Monsters University will only be in theaters two weeks at this point
Domestic Take: $255 Million
4. Monsters University (June 21st):
Don’t get me wrong, this movie is going to do very well. But there’s a few things to keep in mind. First off, the original came out in 2001. That’s a long lay off. And I know Monsters, Inc. is extremely popular, but it’s not Toy Story. Also, there’s no denying the overall brand of Pixar has shown some chinks in the armor compared to what it’s been. In 2009, Up made $293 million, and in 2010 Toy Story 3 made $415 million. But in 2011, Cars 2 made $191 million, and while last year’s Brave bounced back to $237 million, it still wasn’t at the Up level. I say all this to say Monsters University will make a lot of money, but it won’t crack $300 million like I think it would have if it was released closer to 2001, and if Pixar was on it’s A-game.
What It Has Going For It: It’s a Pixar sequel (or prequel rather)
What It Has Going Against It: 12 years in between movies
Domestic Take: $273 Million
3. Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17th):
The 2009 reboot was loved by everyone, I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t make more money. The trailers look great, and I think the J.J. Abrams Star Wars factor will also garner some fascination. People are ready for this, it’s going to do very well.
What It Has Going For It: The 2009 original was universally acclaimed
What It Has Going Against It: Four years in between is a little long. It may have lost some momentum
Domestic Take: $287 Million
2. Iron Man 3 (May 3rd):
This was a very hard one for me to predict. It’s obviously going to make a crap load of money, but when I look at the last two Iron Man films, they basically did the same thing, $318/$312 million respectively. But now we have the Avengers factor. So Iron Man on his own averaged $315 million, but when with the Avengers it jumped to $623 million?! And there’s no denying Iron Man himself was the biggest draw in the Avengers. How do I gauge this? I think the Avengers was just a perfect storm for whatever reason, and while we’ll see a jump in the individual Iron Man numbers, it won’t be drastically different.
What It Has Going For It: It’s Marvel. It’s Iron Man.
What It Has Going Against It: Iron Man/Marvel fatigue?
Domestic Take: $350 Million
1. Man Of Steel (June 14th):
If you were to ask me a few months ago, I would have still said Iron Man 3. But to be honest, I think Man of Steel #1 at this point is a mortal lock. This is just an absolute monster waiting to happen. I can’t remember a movie getting so much positive word of mouth like this. The trailers have also been viewed a gazillion times on YouTube. We also have to add in the Christopher Nolan factor. No, he’s not directing, but even the average moviegoer knows his name is all over this. And Nolan at this point has the Steven Spielberg/James Cameron gravitas. It’s not arguable. For Inception to make almost $300 million domestic for a non-sequel/non-franchise/non-adaptation in this day and age is pretty damn impressive. If this movie is as good as we all think it’s going to be, all it needs is that early word of mouth, and Superman is off and flying towards record breaking numbers.
What It Has Going For It: Are you kidding me? Did you see that last trailer!
What It Has Going Against It: The only thing I can think of is that it may have to suffer for 2006’s Superman Returns, just like Batman Begins was humbled a bit by eight years earlier with Batman & Robin
Domestic Take: $400 Million
But wait, we aren’t done yet…here’s a few more summer tidbits!
The ‘Dan, How Could You Not Include These Films, You’re An Idiot’ Awards:
Pacific Rim (July 12th):
Yes, I know there’s a lot of you absolutely breaking down the doors to see this movie. And yes, I know robots fighting monsters seems like blockbuster money waiting to happen. And yes, I’m well aware of who the director is (Guillermo del Toro). But the fact of the matter is that the summer movie season has gotten so crowded and bloated, there is no room for an unknown franchise to make the serious bucks. If you look at last year’s numbers, the top 10 included only two films that weren’t sequels or known properties, and one of them was a Pixar movie (Brave). Remember all the hype Super 8 got? It only made $127 million, and Spielberg & Abrams’ names were plastered all over that thing. Pacific Rim will do okay, but it’s going to get buried under all the other known entities. The one hope Pacific Rim has is that it’s sandwiched between two relatively quieter weekends with The Lone Ranger, RED 2, R.I.P.D., and Despicable Me 2 (a different audience) being it’s biggest competition.
World War Z (June 21st):
This is a huge flop waiting to happen. Just like with Man of Steel getting all the positive buzz in the world, World War Z has been met with much skepticism. And for me, the trailers have been absolute crap fests. Also, opening 1 week after Man of Steel and on the same day as Monsters University…Good luck.
The Surprise Of The Summer Could Be…
The Great Gatsby (May 10th):
Try and forget the fact that it’s sandwiched between Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness. The Great Gatsby is that non-summer type movie that will give moviegoers a different flavor. And the Great Gatsby is certainly not a property to be taken lightly. If this film is great, and even though Baz Luhrmann is in the directing chair, I think it can be, I could see this willing itself to $200 million and a top 10 box office spot.
The ‘Battleship’ Memorial Flop Of The Summer Award:
The Lone Ranger (July 3rd):
Maybe it will do well internationally, but I think this is going down in flames. According to IMDB, it’s budget is an estimated $250 million. Are you kidding me? Me and Gore Verbinski just don’t get along. Whenever I hear that name, I automatically think of a 160 minute long movie with Johnny Depp that’s boring as hell. This trailer gives me that exact feel. Yeah, Depp’s in this movie, but it’s not well advertised, and he’s not even in the starring role. The trailer looks atrocious. Maybe if this was in September, it could do okay, but in the middle of the summer … nobody cares.