We’ve just finished up the third month of four for the summer movie season of 2012. The two gorillas in the room for the month of July were The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. Many movie steered clear of the whole month because of those two movies. Both had big openings, but they still weren’t the only movies making box office noise this past month. Here’s my report of the box office winners and losers for July 2012. Enjoy!
JULY 2012 BOX OFFICE WINNERS
The Dark Knight Rises— The movie, headline-making tragedy aside, answered the hype and build-up with the third highest opening weekend in history. In just two weeks, it’s already the highest earner of the month and the second highest grossing movie of the entire summer (after The Avengers) with $289 million and counting. Expect The Dark Knight Rises to become the third film of the year to cross the $400 million plateau before the summer is over. (my full review)
The Avengers— With The Dark Knight Rises not on pace to pass or catch The Avengers and its $600 million-plus haul, Marvel can start to declare total victory this summer. Nothing in August will even come close to competing with that total. Marvel execs are sending a “boo-ya” to DC Comics over at Warner Brothers. (my full review)
Magic Mike— Despite the big opening buzz and drop-off, Steven Soderbergh’s movie has gotten solid repeat business from its female target audience. That propelled the movie to cross the $100 million threshold. That’s a great score for a small-budget movie.
Ted— Before it’s all said and done this summer, thanks to good holdover and repeat business in July, Ted will follow in the footsteps of both Hangover movies and tally a $200 million-plus gross for an R-rated comedy. That is no small feat when dozens try and few succeed. (my full review)
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
The Amazing Spider-Man— If you ask, how can I put the second highest earner of the month in the “middle” category, just look at the history of the franchise. Each of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films all made well north of $300 million, with the original grossing $403 million and change. This one’s not going to pass $300 million. It still make good money and a bundle overseas and did its best to reboot the character, but it’s technically as close to failure as it is to success. (my full review)
Ice Age: Continental Drift— While the summer is not over yet, Ice Age: Continental Drift is far from reaching domestic grosses of its predecessors. It’s sitting near $115 million while all of the previous three grossed more $175 million. The fourth film has made back its budget, but isn’t a runaway hit like Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted last month. That’s the trouble when you come out third between that one and Brave. The silver lining is that this movie has made a killing overseas grossing over $500 million in that market.
Savages— Here’s another movie that will finish out about even with it’s budget ($41 million gross vs. $45 million) budget. You can’t call it a runaway hit, but you can’t call it a disaster either. It’s asking too much of the movie to save the box office year of Taylor Kitsch (John Carter and Battleship). It will have some legs on home video too. (my full review)
TOO SOON TO TELL
Ruby Sparks— In fairness, this film has only had one week of just limited release. It deserves more time. Still, it’s got a long way to go to generate the buzz of Little Miss Sunshine (from the same directors) and The Kids Are Alright to be this year’s stamped “must-see indie hit.” That title is being won by Moonrise Kingdom.
JULY 2012 BOX OFFICE LOSERS
The Dark Knight Rises— Yes, even though it’s making a ton of money, the bad press and downer emotions cast over the film by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado makes it a loser too. Not just from a money-making standpoint, but the shooting took more than a little bit off of the luster and legacy off the movie and the whole trilogy. After Heath Ledger’s passing before The Dark Knight, this too adds to the dark and sad cloud that will follow this trilogy through history. It’s unfortunate and not any of the movies’ faults, but it will. (my full review)
The Watch— With a budget in the $60-70 million neighborhood before marketing, a measly $13 million opening weekend getting beat by Ice Age in its third week just isn’t going to cut it. This is a step up back for the Big 3 headliners Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill and the movie will fall out of theaters quickly. (my full review)
Step Up Revolution— Finishing behind The Watch‘s low total will make you a loser too, as this movie did. Also, it will likely be the first of the surprising successful franchise to not make back its relatively low and easy budget level. I hope this also means that the step-dance-hip-hop phase is finally running out of steam.
Katy Perry: Part of Me— Speaking of bad music, Katy Perry’s little attempt to capitalize on the 3D behind-the-scenes concert movie trend that hit for Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber didn’t take off for the ex Mrs. Russell Brand. The movie has only made $24 million and that’s with the 3D price mark-up.
The entire regular movie-going audience and creative control— We are the final losers this month. I’ll editorialize for a minute, so I’m sorry to offend with my soapbox. What happened in Aurora, Colorado is a tragedy, no doubt about it, but it’s an isolated incident. No one but the accused caused that tragedy. No Second Amendment caused that tragedy and no movie or theater caused it either. The knee-jerk rule changes and overreaction are already coming with many theater companies posturing to ban costumes (dumb idea) and hire additional security (good idea). If these new revenue needs (the security personnel) lead to a ticket price hike to pay for them in the near future, you’ll know why. Also, movies shouldn’t have to censor themselves because of an isolated incident or tragedy. The Watch shouldn’t have to change its name from Neighborhood Watch, because it has nothing to do with Trayvon Martin. It’s just a movie. Gangster Squad shouldn’t have to delay itself from August to January to re-shoot a key scene just because its too similar to what happened in Aurora. People, movies are entertainment, don’t give them a higher pedestal than that.
Alright, with that out of the way, definitely check your local west side Chicago theaters for these July releases and upcoming August offerings. I’ll be posting an August preview of box office predictions right after this article. For advance tickets to current movies and upcoming ones, look no further than Fandango and MovieTickets.com. Happy August and enjoy what’s left of your summer!