Summer box office predictions 2015

Cairns on Cinema

John Cairns

After looking at the calendar I realized, “Holy cripes! April is over and we are into blockbuster movie season!”

Yes, indeed, we are into Blockbuster Season at the box office. I’d rather call it “blockbuster season” because “summer blockbuster season” is a misnomer. Heck, this is still spring, after all.

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The blockbuster season traditionally kicks off with the first weekend of May and lasts right until it peters out around mid-August.

It’s called that because this has traditionally been the period when the biggest, mass-appeal, popcorn movies have been released – releases featuring superheroes or special effects.

But it’s also a misnomer because, when you actually look at the numbers from 2014, the biggest blockbusters of the year didn’t even happen during the so-called summer blockbuster season. 

I took a look at the list on Box Office Mojo of the top-grossing releases of 2014 and was surprised to find out that at the top was none other than American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood. Its domestic haul was $348 million, which edged out The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, which hauled in $337,135,885.

Of course, Mockingjay was a November 2014 release. The rest of the top five included Guardians of the Galaxy, which was an August release, at $333 million. Then it was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was an April release; The LEGO Movie, which was a February release and then a December release, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, at $255 million.

So five out of six movies at the top of the box office for 2014 were non-summer movies, so much for Summer Blockbuster Season 2014. It was a bust, as the newspaper folks breathlessly reported over and over again last year.   

As for American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper, that movie is a whole rant all by itself because I contend that American Sniper really isn’t a “2014 movie” at all.

It was in limited release starting Christmas Day 2014. It didn’t actually go into wide release across North America until Jan.16, 2015. When it did, American Sniper went on a tear and finished first for four weekends in a row at the box office during early 2015.

American Sniper really cleaned up in 2015. But because it was released late in 2014, it’s considered a 2014 movie, and for that reason has been declared 2014’s “box office champion.”

Huh? Try and make sense out of this, folks, because I can’t.

Anyway, whether it was a 2014 or 2015 movie is beside the point. American Sniper made most of its money not in the summertime, but during the pit of winter. This is supposed to be the “dead” season at cinemas, but clearly this was not the case this year.

Then in February came the racy R-rated Fifty Shades of Grey, which women flocked to see and which has made a total of $166 million. In March was Cinderella, which has made $193 million.

Then, starting on the weekend of April 3, we had the release of Furious 7, marking the tear-inducing final farewell to the late cast member Paul Walker. Furious 7 finished first at the domestic box office for four weekends in a row and was up to a haul of $322 million as of April 28. 

My main point in mentioning all of this is to say that it isn’t really true to say the summer is the be-all and end-all of “blockbuster season.” We’ve had blockbusters at theatres since last November – several of them. And there were blockbusters the previous winter as well. Yet people still like to refer to the first weekend of May as the start of “summer blockbuster season,” as if there is still something special about it.

Anyway, whether it is or is not is beside the point, because this May 1 weekend will indeed greet moviegoers with a blockbuster. A big one.  

The Avengers: Age of Ultron, from Disney and Marvel Studios, is the second movie in Marvel’s The Avengers series, featuring characters as the Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow, many of which have had their own movies recently as well.

The original movie made $623 million domestically and over $1.5 billion worldwide when it was released in 2012, winning the box office that year. The thinking is this movie will open to another massive haul. There are numerous predictions out there that this movie will break the weekend all-time record of $207 million – the mark that was set by The Avengers in May 2012.

Now, usually I would run down the list of which movies I think will finish in the top 10 this summer. But honestly, why bother? There is no doubt about which movie will win the summer box office.

It will be The Avengers: Age of Ultron, hands down. My prediction is its domestic haul will hit $570 million.

As for the rest of the finishing order, it will be as follows:

2. Jurassic World, $330 million. Opens June 12.

3. Minions, an offshoot from the successful Despicable Me movies, $310 million. Opens July 10.

4. Inside Out, from the Pixar studio, $255 million. Opens June 19.

5. Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, $240 million. Opens July 31

6. Ant-Man, from Marvel again, $225 million. Opens July 17.

7. Mad Max: Fury Road, $175 million. Opens May 15.

8. Ted 2, $160 million. Opens June 26.

9.  San Andreas, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, $157 million. Opens May 29. (Should get a lot of interest due to the publicity from that earthquake in Nepal.)

10. Since it seems none of the other sites are picking this movie for the top 10, I’ll be the one to stick my neck out and pick Entourage at $150 million, since I’m looking forward to this one in particular and so are lots of other guys. Opens June 3.

I know it has competition from Melissa McCarthy in Spy, which opens June 5, but that movie is going to appeal to a different audience anyway.   

Of course, these will not be the only movies to show up this summer. There will be a revival of The Fantastic Four, a Terminator: Genysis movie, a Magic Mike XXL movie, Vacation starring Chevy Chase, Pixels with Adam Sandler and a bunch of others.

It’s fair to say there will be absolutely no shortage of movies to go to this summer.

Enjoy spending your hard-earned money at the theatres, folks. And while you’re there, enjoy the popcorn.    

© Copyright Battlefords News Optimist

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