The Summer Sequels Boxoffice

So here we have a list of U.S. all-time boxoffice champs.

US Domestic Gross

Now I wouldn’t dream of anyone knocking out the all time champ Titanic but do we have any contendors that will break into the top 5??

This summer we’ve got:

Spiderman 3
Shrek 3
Pirates of the Carribean 3
Harry Potter 5

and newcomer:

The Transformers

Any predictions for Summer 2007 box office champ?

Die Hard 4 (Live Free or Die Hard) is coming as well.

They are all going to be big blockbusters! I am really excited about seeing Spiderman 3 after reading this awesome review of the film:

My guess is Harry Potter 5 may be the biggest movie of the year. Tied in with the release of the last book, that may give the movie more staying power.

However, book V was by far the weakest in the series.

I’d say Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3 and Pirates of the Carribean 3 all have a shot at busting into the top 5 but I think Shrek 3 will come out on top because it has the shortest running time of those three.

For Transformers to do big numbers it has to be a good movie too. The fanboys can’t carry it alone.

It’s a tough question. The box office is shrinking and there’s less of an audience to go around for those big movies. It’s going to be a real fight this summer and the loser could be everyone when things finally shake out. My predictions from top to bottom in US gross box:

Spider-Man 3 - $240 mil - I think that there’s a real chance that this movie can avoid the sequel sink hole that third films usually fall into by virtue of trying to build a film franchise from the start. I don’t think it’s going to do as well as the previous films just due to wearing things down, but getting a month jump on everyone plus a stronger marketing campaign than the competitors will push it to the top in the end. A fourth movie will come and it will flush all the work done to this point down the drain, though.

Harry Potter 5 - $200 mil - I think the Harry Potter films have settled into their niche but the release of the last book is going to work to their advantage. Without the book I’d put it closer to $150 mil simply because I think Order of the Phoenix is a point where audience fatigue is going to be a real issue.

Pirates 3 - $160 mil - Pirates does have a real chance to suffer from third-film disease. Pirates 2 might have had an audience but there were a lot of people who came out generally unsatisfied. The fact that a lot of the previous film felt like a rehash and broken story might have a lot people say “I’ll wait for the video.”

Shrek 3 - $140 mil - This might be where I’m the most off the mark. I suspect that a third film hitting the exact same notes might not go over well but a family comedy in the middle of the summer might catch some attention. Since I think that the carry over audience has all but vanished from the theaters I think Shrek 3 is going to go low, but it could surprise me.

Transformers - $120 mil - I suspect this will be this summer’s Godzilla: open huge and then implode so fast that it’ll give you whiplash. Personally I’d like to see it under $100 mil but I think it’s going to get one weekend of big tickets before it collapses. I just don’t think the audience is there for an 80’s cartoon/toy revival and the initial campaign hasn’t shown anything special.

What about Fantastic Four 2?
Transformers isn’t a sequel

I don’t think that anyone was clamoring for a FF sequel so that’s going to hurt the numbers but at the same time I think that this year’s crop of big budget spectaculars feels exceptionally weak and the film is coming out in a nicely spaced period when the buzz from the previous releases will have died down and nothing hitting for a few weeks. It had the advantage of a solid looking, action packed trailer (compared to, say, Transformers) to build some buzz. I’m going to guess $175 mil.

There’s another five or six sequels coming in the next three months that weren’t listed. Normally I’d say they’d get squished by a couple of big releases but this year they could be real spoilers in the box office fight.

Die Hard 4 - $70 mil - So who’s looking forward to Live Free or Die Hard? Anyone? Anyone at all? (crickets chirping)

Ocean’s 13 - $60 mil - The idea is played out.

28 Weeks Later - $80 mil - I think if this film was released one month later it would do better and bleed off a lot of dollars from higher profile films. As it stands, sitting between Spider-Man and Pirates isn’t going to help it.

Evan Almighty - $30 mil - Look! It’s Son of the Mask part 2! My prediction for the Gigli of the summer.

Bourne 3 - $75 mil - Again, I think this has been played out and isn’t going to attract a crowd.

Rush Hour 3 - $40 mil - Another sequel no one was looking for.

And I still think I’m missing a few.

Apparently Spider-Man 3 was the most expensive of the trilogy, at $260 million. As it has to make back about triple to be considered a success, financially, in dodgy Hollywood terms, they’re really relying on it to be the champ.

Spider-Man does have strong merchandising tie-ins which will probably help it avoid being a complete money sink, so there won’t be a need for it to be the top grossing film of all time to make money. Sony is betting the farm on the movie, though. If the box office implosion I’m predicting happens (based mainly on hunches from the industry’s progression over the past few years) then it could sting a lot.

I think Evan Almighty will cracked the hundred million mark and then some. The Son of the Mask featured Jamie Kennedy. Steve Carrell is a star.

I’m confused. Why do you think the box office is shrinking?

I know 2005 was an off year, but the box office has increased every year since 1991 per this site:

And with a lineup of films like we’re talking about in this thread I don’t think 2007 will be an off year.

It’s going to be a good summer box office wise.

Spiderman will easily make back the money with the World Wide Box office.

Of the big three May releases it think it will be neck and neck between Spiderman and the Pirates wtih Shrek coming in thrid. Spidey and Pirates will crack 200 but Shrek will not.

I think Transformers will be the big disappointment business wise and that it will not top 100 million. (domestic)

The ticket sales have flattened off in recent years. 2005 was a disaster and while 2006 was a bump it was nothing like what the movie industry needed. Competition between different media sources, the lack of really compelling films to draw people in, the fact that the bulk of the movies are sequels (a lot of third sequels as well which is the traditional break down point in a franchise), and a slowing economy make me think that this could be the year that studios have been fearing for a while now.

Also, there’s more to the film industry than just the summer. All year ticket sales don’t due the real issue justice. 2006, for example, was worse than 2005 for everyone but Disney between May and August. Since that’s where the studios concentrate the big budget releases that hurt a lot of people.

I suspect there will be a lot more cannibalization between movies this year as well. Last year Pirates benefited by an effective lack of competition. This year there’s an excessive number spectacles and it’ll divide up sales and the surplus of choice will keep some people away.

OK, going back to Box Office Mojo, the Year To Date numbers for 2007 are better than any year in the last five years expect for 2004 (which was skewed because of The Passion of the Christ).

The top 10 for 2004 looked like this…

436,471,036 Shrek 2 (2004)
373,377,893 Spider-Man 2 (2004)
370,614,210 The Passion of the Christ (2004)
279,167,575 Meet the Fockers (2004)
261,437,578 The Incredibles (2004)
249,358,727 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
186,739,919 The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
176,610,096 The Polar Express (2004)
176,049,130 The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
173,008,894 National Treasure (2004)

In 2007 we have new Shrek, Spider-Man, Harry Potter and Bourne movies. Not to mention Transformers, Live Free or Die Hard and a lot of other must-see geek genre stuff (look at how much money 300 made).

Then the year will close with Will Smith versus vampires in I Am Legend. Of course, I know it’ll suck, but Will Smith versus vampires is a recipe to print money.

I think 2007 will be a big year and I still say Shrek 3 will top it.

I see nobody has mentioned Pixar’s latest movie, Ratatouille. I’m definitely looking forward to it, and Pixar often provide the biggest hit of the year. But if it’s not on your radars, then perhaps it will be overlooked, and that will be a great shame.

As long as we’re talking about franchises, how about The Simpsons Movie? Well-known name with a lot of fans and a lot of hype. Plus, the producers are keeping the plot a secret. Probably won’t be the highest-grossing summer movie, but certainly in the top 5 or 10.

End of Summer update:
So for all time U.S. Box Office nobody broke into the top 10 this year. The closest we got was Spiderman 3.

Spiderman 3 336.5 million #15 all time U.S. box office
Shrek 3 321 million #18
Transformers 310.5 million #22
Pirates 3 308 million #24
Harry Potter 5 286.5 million #31
Bourne Ultimatum 202.5 million #76
Ratatouille 201 million #79
Simpsons 178.5 million #106

Biggest suprise? Transformers beats out Pirates or Pixar can’t match it’s own last 5 outings.

Boy I was wrong about Transformers.

Sheesh. I don’t know where they’re finding the people who have the money to go to all those movies. Don’t they have to buy gas or anything? They are aware that it’ll cost about half as much to buy the movie on DVD as it will to go see it, right?

In terms of box office this was the best summer in a long time and it was spread out to many studios. I think the lesson that the studios are going to take away from this is “Don’t take chances on concepts” and “We’re still okay going bigger”.

I take small comfort in the fact that all of the sequels were about as awful as I expected. I do wonder about general audience’s ability to accept crap. Just when I thought it would be strained to a breaking point by sheer quantity they rush out for more. Repeatedly.