It says a huge amount about the rest of the summer movie slate that one of this year’s releases, “The Avengers,” became the third highest grossing movie of all time and the total box office numbers were still down this year.
Here’s the breakdown from Deadline:
“The summer ended with domestic sales of $4.28B, down 2.8% vs the period last year. Attendance fell 4.3% to 533M, which was slightly offset by a 1.5% rise in ticket prices.”
In other words, it would have been even worse if the prices hadn’t been jacked up.
The other two big movies of the year, “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” didn’t outperform their predecessors. I’m certainly not saying that “The Dark Knight Rises” was anything but a huge hit; it just wasn’t as huge a hit as “The Dark Knight,” a box office phenomenon that carried the 2008 box office–the same year as another smash, “Iron Man.” It’s hard to quantify, though, how much the movie was affected by the Colorado shooting during it’s opening weekend.
Meanwhile, “The Amazing Spider-Man” made $259,950,000, good enough for third place for the entire year. However, Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” made $403,706,375 in the summer of 2002. That’s just under double the 2012 film–without adjustment for inflation or the fact that “The Amazing Spider-Man” had the benefit of 3D prices. You certainly can’t call the movie a flop, but you also can’t argue that it inspired millions to turn out.
The most interesting movies of the summer at the box office were two lower budget entries that were surprise hits. “Magic Mike” was made for next to nothing (I think about $13 million) and was targeted to specific audiences (women, gay men) rather than the broad four quadrants usually required for summer movie hits. Yet it made $113,196,556. If there was a reward at the Oscars for “Best Return on Your Investment,” it would go to the team of “Magic Mike” producers.Then there was “Ted,” the Seth MacFarlane comedy that outperformed everyone’s expectations with $216,113,000. Incredibly, that’s only $50 million or so behind “The Amazing Spider-Man,” though “Ted” opened in fewer theaters and didn’t have the 3D ticket price hike. I don’t mean to pick on “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but I think it’s a good example of how uninspiring even the biggest hits were this summer.
September is typically a weak box office month, so if 2012 is going to catch up to 2011, there’s going to have to be a big finish. We’re looking at you, “Hobbit” people.