This has to be one of my favorite columns to write all year. Combining two big subjects in Hollywood that drive my passion (box-office analysis and blockbuster movies), I will now predict the highest grossing films of the summer. You'll be surprised that there aren't any real surprises on this list. In the predictions stage this far out, it's easy to assume what films will make money and what ones won't. However, it's all about how much each film will make. So, let's do it to it...
10.) Captain America: The First Avenger
The tenth spot here is always an educated guess. Hell, this whole list is. But the tenth spot is for the movie that will make about $10 million more than other potential hits, such as Kung Fu Panda 2, The Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I'm giving this spot to Captain America simply because it is a chess piece in a larger game (The Avengers franchise). Anything that is apart of something bigger than itself has the upper hand in terms of making money.
9.) The Hangover 2
Regardless of how big this movie is for Warner Brothers and its summer movie line-up, it will take an enormous crowd to generate the same success the original film made in 2009. Making $277 million domestically and $467 worldwide off a $35 million budget is hard to come by. This sequel has a bigger budget and much bigger expectations. Because of that, look for it to come just short of the original. This may sound like a disappointment, but for any comedy to hit north of $200 million should count their blessings.
8.) Cowboys and Aliens ($260 million)
One of the few original films coming out this summer is Jon Favreau's first film after his enormous success with the Iron Man franchise. This will be a true test of his directorial skills as a big budget director (sometimes there's more pressure on the follow-up feature) and how bankable he really is outside of franchise that already has a built-in fanbase. If there's any indication from the buzz surrounding this film, it will certainly be a huge success. It won't be the biggest movie of the summer, but if it's this successful, look for the sequel to take control in the coming years.
7.) Thor ($275 million)
Thor has the same advantage Captain America does: it's apart of The Avengers. With a strong marketing campaign and being the first official movie of the summer (Fast Five is technically being released in April, so it's not necessarily the start of the season), look for Thor to take advantage of the first two weeks of its release. The only other movie that will be its competition (other than Fast Five) is Priest, which will not reach blockbuster heights anyways.
6.) The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn: Part I ($280 million)
(Sorry, no trailer has been released yet. This is all I could find.)
The Twilight franchise seems to be one of the only surefire moneymakers in the industry. Look for the first part of the last chapter in the series to continue that very trend.
5.) Super 8 ($300 million)
This is my wildcard pick. I am not just putting Super 8 at $300 million because it's my #1 most anticipated movie of the summer. I am putting Super 8 at $300 million because I think it will cross it. Why? Because it's an original film directed by J.J Abrams, produced by Steven Spielberg, and I think it has the potential to be the best movie of the summer. I also need to believe in a film that can prove to everyone that the better your movie, the more money it will make.
4.) Transformers: The Dark of the Moon ($300 million)
Michael Bay + Explosions x Product Placement = $$$. Although I think this will be the lowest grossing film out of the whole bunch. The second one may have made a lot of money, but its terrible sting still lingers inside many moviegoers.
3.) Cars 2 ($315 million)
Pixar may be making a mistake by releasing two sequels in a row, but I will certainly not be the one to doubt the company's extraordinary skill at making critically and commercially successful movies. Thus, I predict Cars 2 to outperform the original.
2.) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($330 million)
I have mixed feelings about how this movie will perform. It's certainly capable of hitting $400 million, and if it's actually a good movie, it may even come close to $500 million. However, reboots are very unpredictable. Are people sick of Jack Sparrow? I don't think so, but I do believe that it will not be the highest grossing movie of the summer, because of....
1.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ($400 million)
The end to the most successful franchise of all time in what could be the biggest movie not just of the summer, but of the year. Not only is its build-in fanbase enormous, but it's an action movie too, meaning it will attract all sorts of customers. Anyone who doubts this epic is about to have a serious wake-up call.