June 2011 Forecast
By David Mumpower
June 2, 2011
There are only eight wide releases this June, and this is the rare example of Hollywood distributing roughly similar amounts of quality and quantity. Seven of the eight titles listed below are reasonably expected to open north of $20 million. Other than Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, every other wide release in June has a legitimate chance at $100 million. Were I a betting man, I’d put the over/under on six titles reaching that plateau. The top three all seem like strong candidates to cross $200 million domestically, making June a potentially fantastic month of box office, at least on paper.
1) Cars 2
2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The top three films for June of 2011 are all sequels. Out of the prior iterations of each franchise, Cars ostensibly fell in the middle with $244.1 million domestically, $461.9 million worldwide. That performance places it ahead of X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s $179.9 million/$374.8 million or even X-Men: The Last Stand’s $234.4 million/$459.4 million if you would prefer to use those. It is well short of the historic numbers earned by the previous Michael Bay movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, though. That ill-regarded title somehow earned $402.2 million domestically; also, it earned an even more impressive $836.3 million worldwide. It currently stands as the 24th most lucrative movie release of all time. Why then am I selecting Cars 2 as the favorite to win the June box office campaign over the sequel to the number two overall domestic release of 2009?
Well, you saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, right?
Okay, that was a cheap shot, a justified one, but a below-the-belt comment nonetheless. I actually have a great deal of confidence that movie goers won’t care about the atrocious quality of the previous Transformers title. They want loud noises and shiny things, and that’s the only thing Michael Bay does well. I am not expecting a massive decline from the Transformers franchise. Instead, I believe that Cars as a brand has reached a point where it approaches Transformers in terms of marketability and I think that movie goers who are on the fence about June releases are much more likely to give Pixar the benefit of the doubt than Michael Bay. And this just means that I think such movie goers are not idiots.
Cars the brand is huge on a scale that you may not have realized yet unless you interact with small children frequently. Over the period since the release of the original film, Cars has earned in excess of $6 Billion (with a capital B) in merchandising sales. Young boys covet Lightning McQueen and Mater toys in a manner previously reserved for Darth Vader and Ewoks. Cars has reached a level of ubiquity that defines it as the 1A to Toy Story’s 1 in the Pixar business plan. And Toy Story 3 earned $415.0 million in North America last year. That amount exceeds what Transformers managed and Pixar managed to do it without people angrily storming out of theaters afterward, cursing the names of all people involved with the film. And if you didn’t do this with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I don’t want to know you.