At this time last year, Fast Five was dominating at the box office on its way to an April record $86 million opening weekend. Despite steady increases from last year almost every weekend, the last weekend of April will see a dip due to the underwhelming Five-Year Engagement. This trend won't be around for very long. This is the summer box office preview for 2012.
Next weekend marks the opening of Marvel's comic book extravaganza The Avengers. Tracking numbers from The Hollywood Reporter put the film at around $125-$150 million but advanced ticket sales from MovieTickets.com have been one and a half times better than the combined totals of all previous Marvel Studios films (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America). The advanced sales have been 56% for 3D and 37% percent of that total is for IMAX 3D. With the added 3D surcharge, I see no reason that The Avengers can't do better than The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and take the crown of all time opening weekend champion with between $170 and $175 million. That may seem crazy but don't forget that The Hunger Games was projected to make between $75 and $100 million and made $152.5 million.
1. The Avengers- $170 million
The Avengers will likely dominate similarly as to what The Hunger Games did its second weekend. The only wide release this weekend is Dark Shadows, which should do good business but will need good word of mouth to be a major blockbuster. I still see The Avengers coming out on top with a dip of around 55%.
1. The Avengers- $70 million
2. Dark Shadows- $40 million
The Avengers has little chance of coming out on top this weekend because of a similar action blockbuster in Battleship. Battleship has done well overseas but is being deemed "Transformers 4" in America. The Dictator opens on May 16 so it won't have as big of an opening but has an advantage being an R-rated comedy in a summer with very few, and the screening at Cinema Con got good reviews. The other movie opening is What To Expect When You're Expecting, whose marketing campaign that has tried to pull in male audiences has backfired. Expect Battleship to come out on top.
1. Battleship- $50 million
2. The Avengers- $35 million
3. The Dictator- $25 million
4. What To Expect When You're Expecting- $20 million
5. Dark Shadows- $17 million
Men In Black 3 opens this Memorial Day weekend and it should make a good amount of money. Will Smith is a big name and while Men In Black 2 was poorly received, it did good business. Orin Peli's Chernobyl Diaries is a horror movie that will definitely not be a blockbuster. The Avengers will start to slow down after the lucrative memorial day weekend and all the previous wide releases should do decent.*Projections for 4-Day weekend.
1. Men In Black 3- $100 million
2. Battleship- $30 million
3. The Avengers- $25 million
4. The Dictator- $20 million
5. Chernobyl Diaries- $15 million
6. What To Expect When You're Expecting- $10 million
7. Dark Shadows- $10 million
When it all comes down to it, the final domestic gross for the films will be:
1. The Avengers- $425 million
2. Men in Black 3- $210 million
3. Battleship- $145 million
4. Dark Shadows- $110 million
5. The Dictator- $85 million
6. What To Expect When You're Expecting- $55 million
7. Chernobyl Diaries- $45 million
Universal has a potential blockbuster franchise on its hands with Snow White and the Huntsman, the epic, Lord of the Rings-style take on the fairy tale. The trailers have received good buzz and with familiar young stars such as Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers), and Kristen Stewart (Twilight), this film is shaping up to be a hit.
1. Snow White and the Huntsman- $65 million
Prometheus, in my opinion, is the biggest question mark of the summer, in terms of box office gross.The marketing campaign has been focused on the fact that it's director Ridley Scott's first sci-fi film since Blade Runner. It is also emphasizing that Scott is the director of Alien, because Prometheus has connections to that film. The footage has been excellent and looks to be the most revolutionary science fiction film since Avatar. But there is one big problem: the film's MPAA rating. If Prometheus is slapped with an R rating that will significantly hurt its box office returns. Even though Fox CEO Tom Rothman says that the film won't be compromised and that if it comes back rated R, so be it, I just don't see Fox letting a film with so much box office potential be rated R. The other wide release is Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which will probably see a significant drop off from its predecessors. Prometheus wins the weekend regardless of rating.
1. Prometheus- $70 million (PG-13), $55 million (R)
2. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted- $45 million
3. Snow White and the Huntsman- $32 million
This weekend takes a break from fantasy epics and big explosions to deliver a '80s musical and an R-rated comedy. Rock of Ages opens June 15 and could deliver a sizable hit for Warner Bros. With Tom Cruise's added star power from MI4, Rock of Ages could be a breakout hit. That's My Boy is Adam Sandler's first R-rated starring effort and it honestly doesn't look any funnier than his other movies. Prometheus and Madagascar should hold well and there's a good chance Prometheus wins again.
1. Prometheus- $40 million (PG-13), $35 million (R)
2. Rock of Ages- $35 million
3. That's My Boy- $25 million
4. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted- $24 million
5. Snow White and the Huntsman- $14 million
The weekend of June 22 is the opening weekend of Pixar's annual summer movie and this year, its Brave. Brave won't open in spectacular fashion, but will be helped by the Pixar brand name and in a summer with little to no family entertainment, this is the biggest family film. The one major problem is that Brave is Pixar's first film with a female lead which may turn off boys from the movie. But, as Disney proved with Tangled, if you put enough action in, the boys will come. Also opening is the historical action flick, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which will draw in genre fans but may be just too weird for mainstream audiences. Same might be said for the Steve Carell comedy Seeking A Friend For The End of The World, which will need strong word of mouth to get to $50 million. Brave takes the weekend.
1. Brave- $60 million
2. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter- $22 million
3. Prometheus- $18 million
4. Rock of Ages- $17 million
5. Seeking A Friend for the End of the World- $15 million
6. That's My Boy- $10 million
7. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted- $8 million
8. Snow White and the Huntsman- $7 million
With a better cast and what looks to be a better overall movie, G.I. Joe: Retaliation will open better than Rise of the Cobra. The first movie is not viewed well but with Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis on board, along with most of the original cast gone, this is being looked on better. There are no other wide releases opening and G.I. Joe will take the weekend.
1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation- $60 million
2. Brave- $40 million
3. Prometheus- $10 million
4. Rock of Ages- $10 million
5. Seeking A Friend For The End of the World- $8 million
6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter- $7 million
7. That's My Boy- $5 million
8. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted- $4 million
9. Snow White and the Huntsman- $3 million
In the end, the domestic grosses will be:
1. Brave- $240 million
2. Prometheus- $220 million (PG-13), $180 (R)
3. G.I. Joe: Retaliation- $180 million
4. Snow White and the Huntsman- $185 million
5. Rock of Ages- $145 million
6. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted- $140 million
7. That's My Boy- $75 million
8. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter- $50 million
9. Seeking A Friend For The End of The World- $45 million
On July 3, The Amazing Spider-Man opens, but I'm counting it as being released this weekend. Nobody will care if it is good or not, the movie will open big. The other wide release on July 6 is Savages, the Oliver Stone drug drama that focuses on two pot growers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) and their shared girlfriend (Blake Lively). Savages has a lot going for it. There are big stars in John Travolta and the director Oliver Stone and it is one of the few adult-oriented thrillers this summer. It will struggle to reach $100 million though. Katy Perry: Part of Me also opens. Spider- Man wins the weekend.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man- $90 million weekend, $185 million 6-Day gross
2. Savages- $40 million
As the weekend of April 27 will be known as the weekend before The Avengers came out, the same will be said about this weekend, which will be known as the weekend before The Dark Knight Rises, but with bigger box office returns. The big film opening this weekend is Ice Age: Continental Drift and after the franchise made a good chunk of money with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, I see the returns here being similar. The other movie opening is Ted. If I had to pick a sleeper for the summer, it would be Ted. Ted is Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy's first movie, and the footage of the foul-mouthed teddy bear film has been earning rave reviews. Ice Age should edge out Spider Man for the weekend.
1. Ice Age: Continental Drift- $50 million
2. The Amazing Spider-Man-$40 million
3. Ted- $35 million
4. Savages- $18 million
The Dark Knight Rises premieres this weekend and millions of fans will finally get to see how Christopher Nolan's acclaimed Batman trilogy will end. There are tons of records The Dark Knight Rises is poised to break. Opening day, July opening, summer opening, opening weekend, single day, you name it, The Dark Knight Rises will break it. Look for The Avengers new records to go down July 20 with The Dark Knight Rises.
1. The Dark Knight Rises- $185 million
2. Ice Age: Continental Drift- $25 million
3. The Amazing Spider-Man- $15 million
4. Ted-$15 million
5. Savages- $10 million
July 27 marks the release of the ill-timed comedy Neighborhood Watch and Step Up: Revolution. Neighborhood Watch has an all-star cast, a cool alien premise, and the promise of several R-rated jokes, but will be overshadowed by the Trayvon Martin shooting. Step Up 4 will see modest returns but will without a doubt be the lowest grossing of the series. The Dark Knight Rises wins again with the largest 2nd weekend ever.
1. The Dark Knight Rises- $90 million
2. Neighborhood Watch- $30 million
3. Ice Age: Continental Drift- $15 million
4. Step Up 4- $10 million
5. Ted- $10 million
6. The Amazing Spider Man- $10 million
7. Savages- $5 million
And the final totals will be...
1. The Dark Knight Rises- $480 million
2. The Amazing Spider Man- $340 million
3. Ice Age: Continental Drift- $190 million
4. Neighborhood Watch- $105 million
5. Ted- $85 million
6. Savages- $75 million
7. Step Up 4- $25 million
Two major question marks open on August 3 and they are The Bourne Legacy and Total Recall. Bourne is a big tent pole franchise that will bring back some of the cast and tell the story of Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an agent similar to Bourne. But will no Matt Damon mean no big box office? I don't think so. Total Recall is in a little bit more trouble. The trailer didn't blow me away and remakes typically aren't that successful. Also opening is Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. There have been solid returns from the first two, and I see no reason why that will change. Bourne wins the weekend.
1. The Bourne Legacy- $55 million
2. Total Recall- $40 million
3. Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days- $20 million
The Campaign and Hope Springs are the only wide releases this August and The Campaign will be far more successful. The film stars Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis as rival politicians that rip each other to shreds in a political campaign. The trailer for Hope Springs was not received well and I see no chance of this becoming a hit. The Campaign barely wins the weekend.
1. The Campaign- $40 million
2. The Bourne Legacy- $35 million
3. Total Recall- $18 million
4. Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days- $10 million
The Expendables 2 will be the big hit this weekend, but Sparkle, Paranorman, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green also open. The Expendables 2 will need to be better than the first film to gross more, but should see a good box office return. Sparkle will morbidly benefit from the death of Whitney Houston and do okay. Paranorman will be a modest hit, probably about as big as Coraline and the Odd Life of Timothy Green will not be that successful. The Expendables 2 will win the weekend.
1. The Expendables 2- $30 million
2. The Campaign- $20 million
3. The Bourne Legacy- $18 million
4. Paranorman- $16 million
5. Total Recall- $10 million
6. Sparkle- $10 million
7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green- $8 million, $13 million 5 day gross
8. Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days- $4 million
Premium Rush and The Apparition open on a weak August 24. Premium Rush, the delayed JGL action flick might have modest results but I see The Apparition flopping. The Expendables 2 wins again.
1. The Expendables 2- $18 million
2. The Campaign-$13 million
3. Premium Rush- $10 million
4. The Bourne Legacy- $9 million
5. The Apparition- $8 million
6. Paranorman- $8 million
7. Total Recall- $6 million
8. Sparkle- $5 million
9. The Odd Life of Timothy Green- $4 million
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days- $2 million
John Hilcoat's Prohibition drama Lawless should lead the last weekend of August and 7500 should do okay as well.
1. Lawless- $20 million
2. 7500- $10 million
The August totals should finish out like this...
1. The Bourne Legacy- $190 million
2. The Campaign- $120 million
3. The Expendables 2- $115 million
4. Total Recall- $110 million
5. Lawless- $70 million
6. Paranorman- $58 million
7. Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days- $50 million
8. Premium Rush- $40 million
9. Sparkle- $38 million
10. The Odd Life of Timothy Green- $30 million
11. The Apparition- $20 million
12. 7500- $20 million
The top films in order should be....
1. The Dark Knight Rises- $480 million
2. The Avengers- $425 million
3. The Amazing Spider-Man- $340 million
4. Brave- $240 million
5. Prometheus- $220 million
6. Men in Black 3- $210 million
7. The Bourne Legacy- $190 million
8. Ice Age: Continental Drift- $190 million
9. Snow White and the Huntsman- $185 million
10. G.I. Joe: Retaliation- $180 million
11. Battleship- $145 million
12. Rock of Ages- $145 million
13. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted- $140 million
14. The Campaign- $120 million
15. The Expendables 2- $115 million
16. Total Recall- $110 million
17. Dark Shadows- $110 million
18. Neighborhood Watch- $105 million
19. Ted- $85 million
20. The Dictator- $80 million
21. That's My Boy- $75 million
22. Savages- $75 million
23. Lawless- $70 million
24. Paranorman- $58 million
25. What To Expect When You're Expecting- $55 million
26. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter- $50 million
27. Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days- $50 million
28.Chernobyl Diaries- $45 million
29. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World- $45 million
30. Premium Rush- $40 million
31. Sparkle- $38 million
32. The Odd Life of Timothy Green- $30 million
33. The Apparition- $20 million
34. 7500- $20 million
35. Katy Perry: Part of Me- $18 million
If all of those film match my projections (some will be significantly lower, some significantly higher) then Hollywood will be in for a record year. The total projections of those blockbusters combined is $4.314 billion which would surpass the previous best summer of 2009 and become the highest grossing summer ever. We'll begin to see how it turns out next week when The Avengers finally hits theaters.