Summer in Review: May

By BOP Staff

October 28, 2008

When John Henry was a little baby...

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Daron Alridge: Iron Man - When you consider the monstrous budget of this film, Paramount and Marvel took a big gamble on a mid-tier superhero. Luckily, it exceeded expectations both in quality and in revenue. Personally, I wouldn't have pegged it to be the number two film of the summer. My guess would have been more of a Batman Begins gross around $200 million.

Made of Honor - What we have here is a solid showing for a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy. There really wasn't anything unique about it and the domestic box office was predictably average as well.

What Happens in Vegas - Compared to Made of Honor, this film seemed to focus more on the comedy and less on the sappiness. As a result, it beat Patrick Dempsey's gross. There appears to be still some juice left in the appeal of Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. My question is how did Made of Honor cost more than What Happens in Vegas? It surprises me that a movie with two somewhat bankable stars in the form of Diaz and Kutcher cost less than a film with a single actor known primarily for TV work.

Speed Racer - What went wrong here? I mean other than Warner Bros. dropping that kind of cash on a project that was clearly a kitschy nostalgia trip for the filmmakers. There is no way to paint this other than as a failure. I guess the Wachowski brothers won't be getting a greenlight anytime soon for that Super Seizure Robots feature film.


The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - This was 2008's Troy, which had a similar pattern of the domestic gross paling in comparison to the international receipts. Could this be a shift in the dynamic of the box office game where the international gross was often equal or close to the domestic? Or it may just be the European appeal of this type of product with a beloved British author that doesn't have the pull in North America.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - This one exploded out of the gate but then leveled off quickly. There is the obvious comparison to the other Indy sequels and this one simply doesn't measure up as well as Paramount had hoped, I would assume. Temple of Doom's $179 million total in 1984 translates to $377 million adjusted to 2008 prices and the Last Crusade's $197 million in 1989 comes out to $350 million in 2008. I think it was gestating too long to get much more bang out of it. The Raiders of the Lost Ark's 1982 total is a Dark Knight-defeating sum of $590 million. I know it was released in 1981 but it ran in theaters for more than a year, so this inflation adjustment is based upon 1982 prices.

Sex and the City - Women of the world united and kept what many people had anticipated was the eventual box office winner of summer to a single first place finish. Between this and Mamma Mia!, studios may quit ignoring the fairer sex's eagerness to see movies that actually appeal to them.

The Strangers - Making nearly $43 million above your budget for most genres, especially horror films, is always a success story.

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