Summer is typically the season dominated by sequels, prequels, and remakes with little room for original concepts. Last year, however, there were four original films among the top ten releases of the Summer. This year could see similar results, but it’s hard to predict which original concept film will be this year’s Ted or Snow White and the Huntsman. However, just like every Summer, it will be inevitably be the sequels that dominate 2013.
The way I see it, the Summer of 2013 will offer a series of match-ups, with two films of a similar genre facing off for a higher spot in the top ten. The two big superhero movies will go head to head (although that race won’t be close), two animated sequels will battle it out, and two comedies will strive to be the surprise of the Summer. This Summer seems harder to predict than previous years, but here goes:
Summer 2013 Box Office Predictions
1) Iron Man 3 – May 3
OPENING: $175 million | TOTAL: $412 million
The Avengers shattered everyone’s expectations last Summer by setting the record for biggest opening weekend of all-time. Iron Man 3 will be using all of the weapons in The Avengers‘ arsenal – 3-D, IMAX, powerful franchise, beginning of Summer momentum – to attempt a similar trajectory, but I suspect its lack of equitable starpower and overall lower quality will hold it back. It will still likely have an enormous opening and should have no problem winning the Summer, but the landscape is a lot less competitive this year.
2) Man of Steel – June 14
OPENING: $94 million | TOTAL: $307 million
Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was greeted with a lukewarm reception and just over $200 million in domestic box office. Apparently that meant it was a failure and the Superman franchise needed to be rebooted only a few years later. While I am predicting Zack Snyder’s much hyped film to earn $307 million, it is very plausible that this could be the first Summer since 2006 where only one film earns more than $300 million. Personally, I wouldn’t be disappointed if Man of Steel falls short of expectations, even if it’s actually decent. Superher movie fatigue has long set in for me and I hope the rest of the movie-going populace reflects my exhaustion (SPOILER: They won’t.)
3) Monsters University – June 21
OPENING: $77 million | TOTAL: $279 million
Outside of the Cars series, Pixar does not make bad movies and even their films that get mixed reviews tend to earn a lot of money. The original Monsters, Inc. earned $255 million in the pre-3D market and is currently the 5th highest grossing Pixar movie of all-time. Cars 2 earned less than its predecessor, but the Toy Story films each earned more than the one before. Quality is the primary factor that determines financial success of Pixar films, so if Monsters University is any good, it should do very well. However, its time as the number one animated film of the Summer might be short-lived because of the next film on this list.
4) Despicable Me 2 – July 3
OPENING: $84 million | TOTAL: $272 million
Which animated film will be the best of the Summer? I am predicting that Dreamworks’ sequel to their surprise 2010 hit Despicable Me will have a higher opening weekend than Monsters University, but the Pixar film will have stronger legs to carry it to a higher overall gross. This will really depend on which is the better film and since reviews are still a few weeks off, it’s hard to predict. Pixar has the better track record in that field, however, so their film is my pick.
5) Star Trek Into Darkness – May 17
OPENING: $80 million | TOTAL: $268 million
The first J.J. Abrams Star Trek film had a $75 million opening weekend and earned a cumulative gross of $257 million. I am predicting a similar trajectory for the second film, with a slightly higher end result because of the inflated 3D ticket prices. The reason I am not predicting the second film to make significant increase is because it opens only two weeks after Iron Man 3, which will still be making an impact at the box office, and one week before Fast and Furious 6 and The Hangover, Part III. The original Star Trek only had X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Angels & Demons opening around the same time, and neither of those films had major box office impacts.
6) Fast and Furious 6 – May 24
OPENING: $69 million | TOTAL: $199 million
I haven’t seen a “Fast and Furious” film since the series used two definite articles in the title, and based on the quality what I saw I’m genuinely shocked they have lasted this long. The more surprising thing might be that each of the most recent films has made more money than its predecessor. There has to be a peak somewhere, though, and I suspect it came with Fast Five two years ago. I think the starpower in Fast and Furious 6 will help it open strong and become the second highest grosser in the franchise, but the inevitable Fast Seven: Dark Side of the Car will continue the decline.
7) Pacific Rim – July 12
OPENING: $56 million | TOTAL: $164 million
This is one of those movies with a box office trajectory that is incredibly hard to project. It’s a non-sequel, big-budget action movie which means it could have the trajectory of successul films like Inception or Super 8, or it could fail miserably like Battleship or John Carter. It will be missing the big Independence Day weekend surge, but it opens during a time when there is not much competition, so it could very well end up being the surprise of the Summer. For now, however, I am being pretty conservative in my prediction.
8) The Heat – June 28
OPENING: $51 million | TOTAL: $148 million
Paul Feig has a good track record with comedies and his 2011 film Bridesmaids was one of the biggest surprises of that Summer. He reunites with the ever popular Melissa McCarthy (whose early 2013 film Identity Thief has already grossed $133 million) and adds another star with huge box office appeal: Sandra Bullock. If the film gets good reviews it could very easily be the comedy hit of the Summer. However, Feig will have to face off with the same nemesis that Bridesmaids was up against in the Summer of 2011: the deplorable Todd Phillips.
9) The Hangover, Part III – May 24
OPENING: $60 million | TOTAL: $141 million
Oh, The Hangover series, how I loathe thee. Despite being widely panned, The Hangover: Part II managed to rake in $254 million and become the third highest grossing movie of that Summer. I really hope that people have learned their lesson and will not rush to the final film in the series in the same numbers, but I fear that I am putting too much faith in humanity. I will just have to do my best to dissuade people using all the means at my disposal. By the way, if you’re reading this: don’t see The Hangover, Part III. Don’t.
10) The Lone Ranger – July 3
OPENING: $41 million | TOTAL: $128 million
I’m giving the ever difficult to predict 10th spot to The Lone Ranger just because it is a Disney joint and they have the unlimited means to market the hell out of it. A couple of years ago I might have argued that the presence of Johnny Depp alone would be enough to land the film in the top ten of the year, but I think the appeal of Depp has diminished a bit after movies like Dark Shadows and The Rum Diaries. Any of the movies below could very easily take this spot instead.
Movies That Could Sneak In:
- The Great Gatsby – May 10
- Epic – May 24
- After Earth – May 31
- This is the End – June 13
- World War Z – June 21
- White House Down – June 28
- Turbo – July 19
- The Wolverine – July 26
- The Smurfs 2 – July 31
- Elysium – August 9
What are your predictions for the Summer movie season?