Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Is the summer box office about to fall apart?

Every summer, in addition to getting a plethora of movies that have rampant explosions and gunfire, the big story is typically how much money each of those movies has made at the box office. Summer 2013 has been no exception. May 2013 broke the all-time record for its respective month with a $1.141 billion gross and June 2013 is also looking to beat the monthly record for June as we head into the final weekend with The Heat and White House Down. And next week is the blockbuster 4th of July weekend where we have the biggest animated movie of the year in Despicable Me 2 and a gamble that is likely to pay off in The Lone Ranger. Despicable Me is a guaranteed blockbuster but The Lone Ranger could very well be a disaster. However, I think that there are enough Lone Ranger fans and Johnny Depp fans that want an action movie on the holiday that it will survive. I can't see it doing more than $175 million at the US box office though. So I think that through that weekend, the box office is in good shape. But after that, where are we headed?

The next weekend we've got Pacific Rim and Grown Ups 2. The Adam Sandler comedy will do just fine but right now, Pacific Rim is being labeled as "the next Battleship" and "2013's first huge flop", and I will admit that it is not looking good. But I am still holding out hope that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, who put up a lot of the money, will do something special with the marketing and keep this film afloat. The problem is that, in my opinion, America is so flooded with special effects blockbusters that they just don't really care that much about crap blowing up anymore. It still is a good marketing tool, but it doesn't automatically get people in seats, like it did in 1998. And the problem is that the marketing for Pacific Rim has been nothing but explosions and carnage. Show people some depth and they will see your movie. Inception didn't get people to see it because of its explosions, it did it by story. Pacific Rim has a story, I know it, I've seen the WonderCon trailer (Go watch it). But unless Warner Bros. does something to spice it up, I see Pacific Rim only making $125 million. 

The following weekend, you have Red 2, Turbo, The Conjuring and R.I.P.D. Two of those films are relatively safe. Red 2 has a built in audience and will likely build on the original film and make around $100 million. The Conjuring is also going to be a smash and will likely build on WOM. But Turbo and R.I.P.D. could be very problematic. After Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, are families really going to go for Turbo? The answer is some, but not nearly as many as if they had put this film in early November. $120 million is the bar for that film. There is zero audience interest in R.I.P.D. I'm pretty sure that, like, five people will go see it. I think that it looks like a really fun time at the movies, but I could be very, very wrong and it does look like a Men in Black rip off. Plus, rumors have put the budget at $200 million, which is insane. No way this makes over $60 million. 

The final weekend sees the release of The Wolverine. Finally, there will be a hit. $190 million could be the number on that one if it is as good as everyone says. I'm not going to comment on August yet because it is a bit too far out but I'll tell you that the month will get by on sheer quantity- and so will the rest of summer. It will survive, but there will be some flops. I don't think that box office will fall apart, but don't look for the months to be as strong as May or June. 

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