Robots vs. Dragons: 2014 Summer Box-Office Predictions

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Last year I ventured into unexplored territory for me as I predicted what would be the most successful movies of the summer (at least as far as collecting dollars goes). Summer is well known for being the time of year when the major studios take their biggest dogs out to play, in search of those valuable teenagers’ money. It is no lie that Hollywood is trying to slowly turn the whole year into summer blockbuster season –Captain America was released in April and has already made summer-numbers, and the movie that sure to be the biggest earner of the year (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I) is coming out in November-, but it still known that Summer is where the true bloodbath of tentpole vs. sequel takes place.

Before we get into this year’s predictions, let us look at last year’s experiment. Turns out I did… reasonably well for the first time. Six out of the ten movies I picked made it into the actual top ten. I got the top four in the correct order (Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University). I also got number five and six, albeit in the incorrect place (I should have swapped the order of Stark Trek Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6). I didn’t get any of the last four, which is logical since those are the really hard predictions to make. I had Pacific Rim and The Lone Ranger on my list, both big box office disappointments that barely cracked the top 20. Anyway, on with the show… Here’s what I think will be the top ten box office performers for the summer of 2014:

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction (trailer)
Release Date: June 27
Studio: Paramount
Predicted Box Office: 375 Million
It doesn’t matter if these Transformers movies suck (they do, although I must admit I didn’t see the last one), people seem to love to see quick cuts of CGI metal parts crashing against each other for three hours. This is the only movie with a wide release that weekend, which suggests not only Paramount, but all the other studios, expect this to make a gazillion dollars, and why wouldn’t they? The last three movies in the franchise all made more than 300 Million dollars.

2. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (trailer)
Release Date: June 13
Studio: Fox/Dreamworks
Predicted Box Office: 350 Million
Listen, who didn’t love the first How to Train Your Dragon movie? It was freaking awesome! By far the best (and only great) movie released by Dreamworks Animation in the close to two decades it has existed. And in case you didn’t know, with Pixar not releasing a movie this year, this is basically the only big animated release of the summer, and families always are a good demographic to try and make your movie hit big.

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past (trailer)
Release Date: May 23
Studio: Fox
Predicted Box Office: 300 Million
I really have no idea how much money this movie’s going to make. The X-Men franchise has been faltering a little bit lately. First Class and Wolverine both made more than 100 Million, but that is far from the numbers the mutants used to make back in the early-to-mid 2000s. What makes this time different? Well, Fox is trying to pull off the closest it can to an Avengers with this one, featuring characters from both the older and newer movies.

4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (trailer)
Release Date: May 2
Studio: Sony
Predicted Box Office: 275 Million
Summer means lots of superheroes, and all seems to indicate people aren’t tired of them yet. I personally didn’t care at all for The Amazing Spider-Man, and it seems like part two is going to be just as messy as part one… Not that audiences will really care though, although I am giving them the benefit of the doubt and predicting this sequel won’t be much more successful than its predecessor, although that would still make it number four of the summer.

5. Maleficent (trailer)
Release Date: May 30
Studio: Disney
Predicted Box Office: 225 Million
For some reason people like watching gritty new versions of fairy tales. Alice in Wonderland, one of the worst movies released in my lifetime, made a gazillion dollars. So did Oz: The Great and Powerful. Disney’s latest attempt to get those bucks is Maleficent, which I hope doesn’t make as much money as those previous movies, but it still has Angelina Jolie, and that trailer scored to Lana Del Rey’s cover of “Once Upon a Dream” makes it look cooler than it probably is.

6. Godzilla (trailer)
Release Date: May 16
Studio: Warner Bros
Predicted Box Office: 200 Million
Talking about trailers, nobody was particularly invested in a remake of Godzilla, but the marketing campaign (especially those amazing trailers) look so freaking awesome even I am excited for director Gareth Edwards’s take on the famous Japanese monster. “But Pacific Rim failed at the box office and it was about giant monsters” you will say, to which I’ll say that 1) Pacific Rim was nowhere near to Godzilla as far as brand names go, and 2) Pacific Rim was a terrible movie.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy (trailer)
Release Date: August 1
Studio: Disney/Marvel
Predicted Box Office: 200 Million
It seems like Marvel can do no wrong these days. However, this movie about a group of intergalactic heroes (one of whom is a talking raccoon) who aren’t all that famous even with comic book fans will surely be the biggest testing ground for how far Marvel can go in its box office dominance. Still, I’ll believe a Marvel movie can fail at the box office when I see it.

8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (trailer)
Release Date: July 11
Studio: Fox
Predicted Box Office: 180 Million
Perhaps the biggest, and most gratifying, surprise of 2011 was how the team led by director Rupert Wyatt managed to make an absolutely amazing movie out of a Planet of the Apes prequel. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, although not perfect, was one of the most inspired and exciting blockbusters in a very long time, and from what I hear, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has the potential to expand on the greatness. The problem is that even if people should be talking about it, I don’t hear much excitement for the movie. If my prediction comes true, Dawn would make roughly as much as Rise, and I don’t know if that’s what Fox is hoping for.

9. 22 Jump Street (trailer)
Release Date: June 13
Studio: Sony
Predicted Box Office: 180 Million
Just like Rise of the Planet of the Apes surprised in 2011, the 2012 equivalent was 21 Jump Street. Who would have thought the remake of a teen soap of the eighties would be one of the smartest and funniest mainstream comedies of recent years, and the movie that made us realize that we needed Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill to team up. Virtually everyone I know loved the original, so I expect the sequel to make big bucks.

10. Tammy (trailer)
Release Date: July 2
Studio: Warner Bros.
Predicted Box Office: 160 Million
At this point, Melissa McCarthy might very well have replaced Will Smith as the most reliably bankable movie star out there. She broke through with her scene-stealing role in Bridesmaids, and she had two big hits last year in The Heat (with Sandra Bullock) and Identity Thief (with Jason Bateman). This time, she is on her own, but there is no question in my mind that America loves its Melissa McCarthy.

Dark Horse: Neighbors (trailer)
Release Date: May 9
Studio: Universal
I don’t know if this comedy about a square couple (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) living next to a fraternity house (led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco) is going to be any good, but judging from that trailer, I think it has the potential to become a huge hit. It’s also, without any Fast and Furious or Despicable Me movie coming out this year, Universal’s biggest hope for success this summer.

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2 comments

  1. The Animation Commendation · April 23, 2014

    Somehow I don’t think ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ will be a hit, as I feel many people don’t know about it.

    • Conrado Falco · April 23, 2014

      It definitely isn’t a sure bet, but I think by this point Marvel and Disney have become just too good at marketing and branding to fail. The trailers and posters for Guardians seem to have been received very well.

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