Revisiting the 2010 Summer Box Office

The American movie going audience proved their willingness to gobble up Hollywood unoriginality this summer at the Box Office. Of the top 10 summer earners only three were not sequels or remakes and of those three only one received higher than a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As a film lover it’s always discouraging to see predictable garbage earning lots of money, but that is essentially and unfortunately what the summer has become.

In May I predicted 10 films to dominate the summer Box Office and six of those actually made it into the end of summer top ten. I’ve only been predicting the Box Office for a couple of months and I’ve since learned a lot about trends and patterns. I wasn’t perfect with my early summer predictions, but the top 5 films were pretty close to right on and the totals weren’t far off either. Check out my initial predictions along with the actual winners below.

Summer 2010 Box Office Results

1) Toy Story 3 (Prediction: 3rd)
ACTUAL OPENING: $110.307 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $411.086 million
PREDICTED OPENING: $75 million | PREDICTED TOTAL: $320 million

At the beginning of the summer the debate for who would end up number one was mostly between Iron Man 2 and Twilight: Eclipse, with Toy Story 3 expected to finish number 3. Previous Pixar film performances seemed to support that hypothesis, but it should have been obvious that the threequel factor and star power would propel this film to number one by a long shot. It’s the only film of the summer to be in the top ten of all-time and it is well-deserving of its great success.

2) Iron Man 2 (Prediction: 2nd)
ACTUAL OPENING: $128.122 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $312.128 million
PREDICTED OPENING: $90 million | PREDICTED TOTAL: $330 million

The largest weekend opening of the year belongs to the first summer blockbuster. Despite its impressive $300+ million total, it is actually the third highest grossing film of the year so far with Alice in Wonderland just ahead of it. The overall total for this movie though sets a nice precedent for other films to come in the Avengers franchise.

3) The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Prediction: 1st)
ACTUAL OPENING: $64.832 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $300.298 million
PREDICTED OPENING: $120 million | PREDICTED TOTAL: $390 million

The Twi-hards came out in droves to easily break the midnight release record for the third film in the Twilight franchise. It’s actual total looks slightly deceiving because of its Wednesday release, but it’s first day earnings were just behind the all-time record. Each Twilight film has bested it predecessor, which means that Breaking Dawn could be huge when it premieres.

4) Inception (Prediction: 4th)
ACTUAL OPENING: $62.785 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $287.053 million
PREDICTED OPENING: $45 million | PREDICTED TOTAL: $300 million

One of the common factors of my summer predictions was that I was way off with the opening predictions, but not too far off with the totals. Inception is the film that would not go away with 11 weeks (and possibly more) in the top ten. It’s the most successful film of the summer that is not a remake or sequel and the film in the top ten with the second highest Rotten Tomatoes score (behind Toy Story 3).

5) Despicable Me (Prediction: 10th)
ACTUAL OPENING: $56.397 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $245.514 million
PREDICTED OPENING: $30 million | PREDICTED TOTAL: $150 million

Never underestimate the Box Office potential of an animated family film – that is one of the essential lessons I have learned since I began doing predictions. Despicable Me can chalk up its success to a great marketing campaign and the popularity of Steve Carrell and the other members of its over-crowded voice acting ensemble.

6) Shrek Forever After (Prediction: 5th)
ACTUAL OPENING: $70.838 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $238.395 million
PREDICTED OPENING: $60 million | PREDICTED TOTAL: $285 million

Three of the top ten films of the summer are animated family films, but one of the most successful animated family film franchises of all-time was not the best of those. A $200+ million gross was a nice send-off for Shrek and the gang and the decrease from the last several Shrek films indicates it was time for the film franchise to end.

7) The Karate Kid (Prediction: N/A)
ACTUAL OPENING: $55.665 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $176.591 million
PREDICTED OPENING: N/A | PREDICTED TOTAL: N/A

Will Smith went a year without a major blockbuster so he handed the task off to his son, Jayden. This is the movie of the summer whose success I comprehend the least, but apparently families are really into the Smith family and Jackie Chan.

8) Grown Ups (Prediction: N/A)
ACTUAL OPENING: $40.506 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $161.417 million
PREDICTED OPENING: N/A | PREDICTED TOTAL: N/A

It was my mistake for underestimating the star power of this film and its ability to play with adult audiences despite the fact that it was just plain awful. I really hope that this type of comedy dies out soon, but at this rate it’s not looking like it.

9) The Last Airbender (Prediction: 8th)
ACTUAL OPENING: $40.325 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $131.601 million
PREDICTED OPENING: $35 million | PREDICTED TOTAL: $180 million

Looking at the above four films just makes me depressed. I’m hoping that the success of The Last Airbender was due to the fact that it was based on a popular Nickelodeon television show and not the fact that it was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It was critically panned and I don’t know anybody over the age of 7 who enjoyed it, which may prevent this film from turning into a franchise.

10) Salt (Prediction: N/A)
ACTUAL OPENING: $36.011 million | ACTUAL TOTAL: $117.223 million
PREDICTED OPENING: N/A | ACTUAL TOTAL: N/A

Angelina Jolie carried this predictable action film to Box Office success and it managed to hold its own against Inception for a few days. I’m glad that American can readily receive a female action hero and hope that similar, but better films get made soon.

Films I Predicted, but Didn’t Make It
Robin Hood (6th)
Sex and the City 2 (7th)
The A-Team (9th)

What did you think of the summer Box Office? Anything surprise you?

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  • Wow didn’t know L ast Airbender had been so succesful especially since it got such bad word of mouth.

    Grown Ups is a surprise for me as well.

    I’m happy to see Inception and Salt there, I really liked those two.

  • Jake G.

    I think Robin Hood is epic and deserves a Best Picture Nomination!!!

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