Posted by: Joe Eds | August 31, 2009

Summer Box Office, Part II

The Big Dawgs ruled. What else is new?

Looking back, Transformers, Harry Potter, Up all seemed liked the safest bets, and they were right.

Animation is kingSome pessimistic articles were written about Up‘s b.o. potential. Could a story about an old man and a floating house really be that interesting to kids? Boy howdy. Up is the second highest grossing Pixar film, behind Finding Nemo. Ice Age 3-D did literally the same as its predecessor Ice Age: The Meltdown with just under $200M domestic, internationally though, Ay Caramba! This movie is doing gang busters. It has made more money overseas than any animated film in history. It’ll likely pass Shrek 2, the previous record-holder, in a couple of weeks.

Sci-FiStar Trek got released in early May and it’s legs carried it through. It’ll do a good $80M more than Wolverine, even though Wolverine had a bigger opening weekend ($85M vs $75M). Star Trek was fun, and even non-fans of the series showed up and enjoyed it. I’d say Up and Star Trek were the crowd-pleasers of the summer, and proof a movie can be fun without being mind-numbingly stupid (see G.I. Joe). District 9 is a late-summer hit, that will get past $100M domestic probably next week. No stars, no star director, not based on a video-game or toy or comic book, just a great marketing campaign that paid off. Kudos.

Harry PotterHalf-Blood Prince is the worldwide box-office champ of the year. Just barely ahead of the big robots. It’s the second highest of the series, just behind A Sorcerer’s Stone. The grosses of the Harry Potter films are in this gap of $250M to $313M. The last book is being split into two movies. Guess why.

Big Robots blowing shit upBig. As expected. Well liked? Hard to tell. I haven’t seen it, and I’m not the target audience. But here’s the dirty secret: even movies you hate, especially sequels and three-quels, do incredibly financially well because everyone wants to see them. Examples: Spiderman 3 was despised by most, still got $336M. Pirates 3 still got to $309M. Shrek the 3rd managed $322M. That’s serious amounts of asses in seats for films that are universally agreed are shite. But we saw them because we wanted to see them, and for the big dawgs it’s as simple as that.

The Hangover – We should have seen it coming. Great trailer. Great outdoor campaign. It was funny to boot, and didn’t venture off too far in stupid-land (think Dude, Where’s My Car?). At $270M it’s the highest grossing R-Rated comedy of all-time. Bigger than Wedding Crashers, There’s Something About Mary and the first two American Pie‘s. In a comedy like this with no significant stars (meaning no huge upfront paycheck and divided up back end) and low production value, this will be an enormously profitable movie.

GI Joe – It was expected to be the flop of the summer. But no, it’ll do a solid $150M here, and a little more overseas. That means it’ll eventually earn back its money…and there won’t be a sequel. Sorry Jeff.

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