By David Poland email@example.com
Summer Numbers Bring May Sequels
As of this writing, there are 10 films over the $400 million mark for 2013.
Last year, at this same time, there were 11… though 1, it should be noted, was over $400m on foreign dollars alone with only $10m of its $416m total coming from the US (The Intouchables) and almost all of that $406m happened in 2012.
So, in some ways, pretty even.
There were 2 billion dollar movies last summer. Only 1 this year. There was a small increase in average ticket prices. Etc. But, on the whole, pretty fair fight.
The big difference was that studios lost their focus on budget and went absolutely nuts this summer. That’s not an answer to the question of whether people still want to go to the movies or what they want to see. Last summer had a worse case of sequelitis amongst its biggest grossers than this summer… so is Hollywood taking a turn for the better? (Rhetorical.)
Three “originals,” six sequels, and one weird Oz spin-off make up ten $400m+ grossers worldwide so far in 2013. Last year, it was seven sequels, three “originals” and Intouchables.
World War Z, Pacific Rim, and The Croods (in order of expense) were the trio of originals that made it to $400m, The Croods being by far the most profitable of the three.
And which of the over-400-club film found the highest percentage of its gross internationally? Pacific Rim. Number two was Fast & Furious 6, which is one of those things that makes the movie business a constant amazement. Until Fast Five, which doubled the previous highest international gross in F&F history, this was a mediocre franchise internationally. And all of a sudden, with a tweak to the cast, international drives the franchise.
And that is why Pacific Rim really may be the first of a series of films. It’s why World War Z, which will be right on the edge of red ink, will be sequelized (with the assumption that the third act will not be re-shot the second time out). It’s why there could be a “Men in Black 4″ someday and why sequels to Marc Webb’s version of Amazing Spider-Man are a no-brainer.
Of course, Pacific Rim was also the only film in the Top Ten of 2013 that was derided and mocked as a box office disaster. But all three originals got over 62% of their gross from international. So did Man of Steel. People scoffed about Pac-Rim earning in Japan… but it more than doubled Superman’s show there. China was a huge part of Pac-Rim’s international success. And yes, the rentals are a bit lower there than in other foreign countries. But only Iron Man 3 did better there amongst English-language films… and only by $10m.
Heck, I don’t know if Pac-Rim is even going to escape the red ink. There may be some money lost. But 40 million-plus people paid money to see the film. And in the modern movie business, that smells of a big opportunity. Personally, I think GDT needs to put a few brand names in the Jaegers next time out. If he wants to draw US eyeballs, threaten the US a bit. But that opportunity to make the Fast, Furious leap is there.