Because of the Writers Guild of America strike in 2009, a number of big box-office projects were delayed, causing them to miss their originally scheduled release dates. After the strike ended, a number of the stalled productions resumed, and they were re-scheduled for Summer of 2011 release.
Box Office experts predicted the best summer ever!
The re-scheduling of so many major motion pictures to Summer of 2011 caused a number of box office pundits to predict that 2011 would be the biggest summer ever. They claimed that ten, or more, potential 2011 summer blockbusters would surpass $200 million domestically. Six of the ten projected monster summer hits have already been released, and only three of them, THE HANGOVER PART II, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES and TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON have surpassed the $200 million domestic mark. Worldwide, the Michael Bay spectacle has reaped $490 million. I'm not counting FAST FIVE, released on April 29, as a summer movie, despite its distributor's advertising claim that, "Summer Begins, April 29!"
The first quarter of the box
office year was down, way down. May rebounded brilliantly, giving us the box-office's biggest May in history. June was down five percent from last year. Summer hasn't been all that stellar. There have been big hits (THE HANGOVER PART II, PIRATE OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES). There have also been major misses: PRIEST, GREEN LANTERN. But there has been no box office tsunami, and that includes TRANSFORMERS : DARK OF THE MOON. So, as July unfurls, I can't help but wonder, "Can the predicted best box office summer ever be saved?" Will July and August be record-breakers, or will the Summer of 2011, go down as not the biggest ever, but one of the least spectacular?
Neither Pixar nor comics heroes have delivered as predicted.
For the Weekend of June 24-26, CARS 2 drove Pixar to its 12th consecutive Number One box-office win with some $68 million in ticket sales spread across 7700 screens, 2508, of which, were 3D. A Number 1 win is a Number 1 win, but it's not necessarily progress. At the box-office, and, in life, progress means somehow bettering what came before.
Let's look at last
year. Pixar's TOY STORY 3 opened on Friday, June 18, on 4028 screens; that's almost 3700 screens shy of CARS 2's June 24 opening. It opened to rave reviews. CARS 2's reviews were tepid. TOY STORY 3 collected more than $110 million on its opening weekend. That's $42 million more than this year's Pixar opening.
PIRATES has plundered $1 Billion, globally.
CARS 2 won't propel us to the best box office summer ever.
Some box office experts were counting on comic book adaptations to put this summer over the top. At this point, it's doubtful that comics adaptations and superheroes will save the day. THOR, X MEN: FIRST CLASS and GREEN LANTERN did reasonably well, but not a one of them was an honest-to-goodness blockbuster. A fourth comic book adaptation, PRIEST, failed miserably. That leaves CAPTAIN AMERICA, CONAN, and COWBOYS AND ALIENS to spawn a true box office tsunami from the world of comics. Can they do it, or will they be crushed by HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATH HOLLOWS PART 2? Perhaps POTTER's swan song will be that box office tsunami we desire.
Michael Bay to
summer's rescue, anyone? The Independence Day Weekend was a high-flying affair for the box office. Michael Bay's 3D three-quel, TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, easily eclipsed its competitors. Overall, it was the biggest July 4 Weekend ever.
Can a 3D POTTER finale portend the best summer ever?
Even more good news: sometime over the holiday weekend, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES topped the $1 billion mark globally, making this fourth PIRATES installment only the eighth motion picture in history to top $1 billion.
But it wasn't all good news. CARS 2 was a train wreck in its second outing (July 4 Weekend), dropping a crushing 60 percent from its opening frame. Higher education barely fared better. In third place, BAD TEACHER eroded an awful 54 percent from its opening weekend. The combined star power of Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks in LARRY CROWNE couldn't do better than fourth place, a major disappointment, at best.
SUPER 8 rounded out the Independence Day Weekend, in fifth position.
Can the predicted best box office summer ever be saved? Right now, I think not.
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Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.|
He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.
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