Upcoming summer box office movie breakouts
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 21:04
It’s summer movie season again, so you know what that means: hundred-million-dollar grosses for everyone. Well, not everyone, and even with that kind of box office, a lot of films will lose money (look at “John Carter”).
Still, a whole lot of movies are going to make a whole lot of money, so let’s take a look at them, shall we? Yes, let’s.
May starts things off with “The Avengers,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. It tells the timeless story of Samuel L. Jackson gathering the world’s mightiest heroes, so they can punch aliens in the face. There’s a lot of audience goodwill from the previous (mostly “Iron Man”) Marvel films and the 3D showings will help out. Internationally, it’s mostly golden.
The Captain America character might hold the movie back in certain markets, but Japan has no such qualms, and they prefer lighter, more fun super-antics (as opposed to Batman). Japan is an important market, due to it being a high-population, First World country, which means they’ve got money to spend.
Expect “Avengers” to cross $650 million, worldwide.
The week after, Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” premieres, but it’s doubtful it’s strong enough to beat “Avengers,” even with Johnny Depp. Expect a repeat of the scenario from 2008, where “Iron Man” crushed the fun, but ultimately too wacky “Speed Racer.”
Then May starts to cannibalize itself. On May 18, “Battleship,” “The Dictator,” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” all come out, and overlap their demographics. “Battleship” hopes to be this year’s “Transformers,” and will probably end up taking the top spot. Sacha Baron Cohen rolls out a new character in “Dictator,” but it looks like more of a Borat retread.
“Expecting” features an A-list cast and might be the most relatively successful, considering its lower budget. In June, the first big release is Ridley Scott’s mysterious return to science fiction, “Prometheus.”
By all accounts, it looks like it will be a great film: a wonderful director, stellar actors, and a thrilling story. However, if it gets slapped with an “R” rating from the MPAA, it could spell doom for lofty gross results. The film should be a solid performer, but $300 million worldwide might be a bit of a stretch, given its creepy, disturbing imagery.
Aside from that, June is traditionally known for family movies, and it doesn’t disappoint. “Ice Age 4” is hell bent on driving the franchise into the ground, Shrek-style, but like its predecessor, it should do OK here in the States while dominating internationally.
By far, the winner of June is going to be Pixar’s “Brave.” Looking a little more serious and lacking any cute primary characters, it won’t do “Wall-E” or “Finding Nemo” numbers, but between $500 to $550 million sounds about right.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” kicks off July with its own interesting case. The reboot has some ill will from the last (bad) movie, it features barely any star power on top of an Indy director, and it looks darker and grittier.
Dark superheroes are fine, but Spider-Man is well-known for his sense of humor and soap opera of a life. That said, the character himself is immensely popular; the opening weekend will be huge (especially since it’s the Fourth of July), but after that it’s a wildcard. The month closes with the granddaddy of superhero movies, “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Leading up to its release, there will be endless speculation about “Rises’” box office take. One thing’s for certain: the film stands poised to break several records. Analysts have theorized “The Dark Knight’s” cash-collecting spree in 2008 was boosted Heath Ledger’s untimely death, but they may have been overestimating. Ledger’s actual last film (“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnasus”) didn’t do so great (maybe because it sounded like a sequel to “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”).
It’s more likely that his death piqued interest, but the film stood on its own merits. “Rises” lacks a major villain (The Joker) played by an Oscar-winner, but secondary villain/ally/whatever Catwoman should appeal to casual fans unfamiliar with Bane.
The film is also missing a 3D component, but is compensating with IMAX, a format in which half the film is shot. Weak competition in the weeks following “Rises’” release will further bolster the movie’s take.
On the other hand, international audiences don’t take as well to darker blockbusters, especially in Asia, where escapist fare is preferred. Still, by playing the “Grand Finale” card (like “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings”); expect “The Dark Knight Rises” to be the next billion-dollar movie.
There’s always a lot of leeway in predictions. Maybe “Brave” will flop, or perhaps “Battleship” will be a thrilling masterpiece of cinema. Regardless of how each movie does, it’s just nice to get out and see some cool stuff on the big screen.