Summer 2012 Box Office Predictions

Summer Box Office 2012

A big deal is made of the Summer movie season every year with the assumption that the highest grossing blockbusters are set to be released. However, in 2012 the story might be different with The Hunger Games approaching $400 million and hotly anticipated films like The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 and The Hobbit headed for theatres this Fall. It looks like there is the potential for three of this year’s top five highest grossing films to come from outside of the Summer.

That is not to diminish what is probably going to be one of the biggest Summer Box Office seasons in years. The two highest grossing films of the year are likely to come from the Summer with several other strong contenders mixed in. One of the rare trends that I am predicting this year is a strong performance from original titles, meaning films that are not sequels or part of a franchise. There are potentially three films in my predicted top ten that fit that description, which was two higher than last year.

Here are my predictions for what are certain to be the big hits of 2012:

1) The Dark Knight Rises – July 20
OPENING: $162 million | OVERALL: $484 million

Up until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 premiered last Summer, The Dark Knight held the record for biggest opening weekend of all-time. The final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise will be seeking to reclaim that throne this Summer, and I predict that it could come very close. With the slightly higher price of a movie ticket, I am predicting a higher opening weekend than its predecessor, but a smaller overall gross because of tougher competition throughout the Summer.

2) The Avengers – May 4
OPENING: $160 million | OVERALL: $402 million

We don’t have to wait long to find out if this film lives up to expectations, with Joss Whedon’s superhero ensemble film slated to open next weekend. It is exceedingly rare that two films in one Summer earn more than $400 million, but The Avengers just might do it. It has the incentive of coming out in 3-D, which will give it a small boost through increased ticket prices, but it also has some obstacles to overcome. As the first major film to open in May, it will have a series of big movies opening in the immediate following weeks, so it will probably not have as many weekends at number one as The Hunger Games or The Dark Knight.

3) Brave – June 22
OPENING: $72 million | OVERALL: $294 million

Pixar movies have become one of the most consistent parts of the Summer movie season; they are guaranteed to do well simply because of the high reputation of the Pixar brand. The movies are known for starting less strong than some of their action movie colleagues, but having remarkable legs that carry them to higher overall grosses. I do not expect Brave to pull in the same types of numbers as Toy Story 3 or Cars 2, but it should perform similarly to their other original titles like Up and Wall-E.

4) The Amazing Spider-Man – July 6
OPENING: $89 million | OVERALL: $229 million

Ten years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school, the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man came out and was one of the cinematic highlights of the Summer for myself and other impressionable teenagers. Sony Pictures is trying to rekindle that fire for a new generation of young people with this reboot of the franchise. The problem is there are still too many of us around that remember the original series (Spider-Man 3 was only 5 years ago) and are uninterested in a reboot that smells like an obvious cash grab. This reboot will not perform as well as its predecessors, but should have no problem being one of the top movies of the Summer.

5) MIB 3 – May 25
OPENING: $78 million | OVERALL: $209 million

The second Men in Black movie had a higher opening than the first, but finished its run with a considerably smaller total. I predict that the third in the series will have a higher opening than both its predecessors, but finish its run right in the middle. Men in Black 3 will have 3-D, which the first two films did not have to boost their box office totals. A long enough time has also passed between the 2nd and 3rd films to allow viewers to forget about the awfulness of the second movie and remember the characters with reverence rather than boredom. This movie will also be a good test to see if Will Smith is still the bankable star that he once was.

6) Snow White and the Huntsman – June 1
OPENING: $67 million | OVERALL: $201 million

Apart from Brave, this is the original title that I suspect will have the most success at the Box Office this year. It has a nice June 1st release date that doesn’t put it up against any major competition, although with Prometheus and Madagascar 3 coming the week after, it will probably not stay at number one for more than one week. Original titles also depend on reviews and good word of mouth more than sequels do, which means the quality of the film must be decent in order for it to have the necessary legs.

7) Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – June 8
OPENING: $58 million | OVERALL: $177 million

The previous Madagascar film opened at $63 million and went on to earn a domestic total of $180 million. I suspect a similar, but slightly diminished performance from the third film in the series. It will be opening opposite Prometheus which means some parents may leave their kids at home, but it will have two weeks as the only children and family movie in theatres before Brave comes out.

8) Battleship – May 18
OPENING: $52 million | OVERALL: $170 million

Hasbro will not be seeing the same success with Battleship as they did with the Transformers franchise, but I don’t think this film will be the flop that many are predicting. The film opened several weeks ago overseas and has already raked in over $140 million after a $58 million opening. It opens up against comedies The Dictator and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and has MIB 3 coming out the weekend after, so it has fierce competition, but the advertising has included enough explosions and Liam Neeson to entice the casual movie goer.

9) Prometheus – June 8
OPENING: $55 million | OVERALL: $165 million

This is easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year by the geek contingent, but I worry that it will face the fate of other geek franchises like Cabin in the Woods or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and fail to draw in the mainstream audience. I think general buzz about the film has been strong enough to give it a big opening, but it needs very positive reviews and word of mouth to make it one of the top ten films of the Summer.

10) Ice Age: Continental Drift – July 13
OPENING: $46 million | OVERALL: $159 million

This film opens the weekend before The Dark Knight Rises and will give the kids something to do while their older siblings, parents, and everyone else in the world sees Batman in action. The last two Ice Age movies have made nearly $200 million, but their opening totals have been steadily declining. Fox can’t expect the formula to keep working, and I anticipate this film will be the beginning of the decline for the series.

Movies That Could Sneak In:

  • Dark Shadows
  • Rock of Ages
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  • The Bourne Legacy
  • Total Recall
  • The Expendables 2
  • Sparkle

What do you think of these predictions? Too high or low? Did I over or underestimate any movies?

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  • Good Predictions of the Summer Box Office, this year is going to be one of the biggest box office success in years as u said not only Summer but fall and the already early box office returns with Hunger Games, The Lorax etc have been quite remarkable. I wish Prometheus to do a lot more and yes The Dark Knight Rises has to make some records!! I am not good at predicting Box Office returns so yeah i’ll go with yours.

  • Jose

    I actually agree with most of them. Although I wonder if you’re overestimating Brave and underestimating The Amazing Spider-Man by like, $30 million or something.

    Oh, and I think that one thing the success of Prometheus depends on is its rating. I keep hearing how Scott is fighting to release it with an R rating while FOX wants a PG-13 rating. I wonder which rating they’ll end up with and if that will affect its box office.

  • sean

    Very nice predictions, i wouldn’t disagree with any of these. it’s kinda funny seeing some of the other sites’ predictions, some are utterly ridiculous.

    great job!

    • Thank you, Sean! It’s going to be a big Summer, but certainly not as big as some are saying.

  • Rob

    Looks like you grossly underestimated Avengers. Don’t feel bad. Everyone else did.

    Dark Knight will do well, but will end up being in second place.

  • Steven

    Underestimated Avengers but everyone else did. Also, to Rob, Rises can make more then Avengers, Avengers only sold 3 million more tickets on OW then The Dark Knight and is looking at selling less ticket than The Dark Knight’s 75 million total. With ticket price inflation and IMAX The Dark Knight would have made $172 million in 2012 and meaning Rises would need something like an 18% jump to beat the Avengers which can happen.

    Don’t forget, TDK had a 190% jump over BB OW and Rises has sold out midnight IMAX showings back in January in New York, LA and San Francisco in minutes. Avengers is the first movie OW to sell more tickets then TDK’s, the last Harry Potter film didn’t even do that. The Avengers OW is impressive but take out 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D, (UltrAVX, UltrAVX 3D in Canada) and it wouldn’t make $200M (and the 3D in Avengers wasn’t even good).

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