It’s only 18 days (but who’s counting?!) until Wet Heroic Gary arrives in our theaters. Since August is largely one hot, miserably humid month here in LA (Lower Alabama), I have to say seeing Richard be all fatherly and bad-ass (and drenched) will be the month’s saving grace for me . . .
So far this summer has been a touch on the lackluster side for box office returns. I did a little research online . . .
“According to Rentrak, the No. 1 company which gauges box office and film industry figures, U.S. box office figures for the Independence Day weekend fell to their lowest in 15 years partly because of a limited lineup of new releases. It has been a poor summer for the industry. With sales down 17% year over year since May 2, year-to-date sales of $5.44 billion are down 3.8% from a year ago.”
Granted, it didn’t help to have the Fourth of July fall on a Friday, which is usually an important day of the week for the industry, but other warning signs have appeared. Four major movies saw their sales drop more than 60% on their second weekends, which is unusual. According to Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at Rentrak, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” will now have to make big splashes for the industry’s results to recover, but 2014 receipts will probably lag behind last year’s $10.9 billion record high.”
Excerpts from “Even Transformers Might Not Save the Summer for the Box Office” by Daniel James on the Motley Fool website
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Then along came an ape named Caesar (brought to life through performance capture technology by the amazingly gifted Andy Serkis) in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and things started looking up. Andy, who created the unforgettable Gollum in the LOTR/The Hobbit trilogies, also served as second unit director for Peter Jackson and worked in that capacity with Richard on the second trilogy based on Tolkien’s works.
Richard and Andy pose together for a photo after conducting separate interviews for their projects in London recently. Courtesy of the BBC.
DOTPOTA was released on July 11 and, as of July 20, the movie has grossed more than $139 million domestically, remaining the #1 movie for the second week in a row (the film’s budget was $170 million, so there seems little doubt it will be a money-maker for Fox Films. Expectations are a take of $230 million during its run). While its box office earnings dropped 50 percent in its second week, it’s performing better than other summer blockbusters, such as “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “The Amazing Spider Man” and the latest “X-Men” entry, which all dropped at least 61 percent at this point. (Statistics courtesy of Box Office Mojo). The strong hold of Serkis and Company is being attributed to positive reviews, strong word-of-mouth and, frankly, some lackluster competition at the box office. I am delighted to see such great reviews for Andy’s performance in particular. I hope he and Richard actually get a chance to act together in some future project.
So what about the other film mentioned that could at least partially salvage this less-than-stellar summer? “Guardians of the Galaxy,” billed as an action/sci-fi/fantasy film based on Marvel comic book characters, opens August 1, one week before Richard’s film “Into the Storm” whirls into theatres across the U.S (it opens July 31 in the U.K.). As part of the seemingly almost indestructible Marvel super-franchise, it seems likely to do decent business at the box office. This film is said to have a more comedic, distinctly irreverent tone and attitude than the other Marvel films.
Title courtesy of movieinsider.com
“Guardians” also features another Hobbit alum, namely, the gorgeous and talented Lee Pace (Thranduil) as the villain of the piece, with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista among the quirky bunch of good guys. The world premiere, by the way, is taking place tonight, July 21. You can watch a livestream of the premiere at Marvel.com. According to the Marvel Universe site, the whole cast (will this include Pace?) will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight at 11:35/10:35 Central Time on ABC Television.
And what about the films that “Into the Storm” will be going up directly against when it opens here August 8? Will they help or hurt the overall box office and how will ITS perform in comparison? Will Ronan end up destroying Garry and the gang when they arrive in our theatres? Will the Armitage Army beat out the Marvel Maniacs? Will Richard and cool CGI help save not only his movie son, but the summer grosses? We will just have to wait and see.
More about ITS’s direct competition in the next post.