Forecast for July 4th Weekend, 2012, Part 1
By Reagen Sulewski
July 3, 2012
With July 4th falling on a Wednesday, it's the most awkward possible day for films to take advantage of the holiday, particularly event films looking to grab that bonus day. So we're left with the shortest possible turnaround time for a weekend, with a new tentpole film opening on Monday evening for some showings and launching its full release Tuesday.
Speaking of quick turnarounds, that tentpole is the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, just ten years after the first Sam Raimi film and five years after the disaster that was Spider-Man 3. While some series have been rebooted on a quicker timeline (The Punisher and The Hulk come to mind) none have been from particularly good movies (The Punisher and The Hulk again come to mind). Even the Batman and Superman re-reboots were/are seven years after the last film in the series. Then again, it was apparent pretty early on that the last Spider-Man was a franchise-killer. May as well get things rolling again.
With Raimi out of the picture and all of the cast of the first film too old, we've turned things over to (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb and 29-year-old Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Seriously, I know he looks young now, but does no one think ahead on these things? Okay, I'll give them (24-year-old) Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Anyway, it's the origin story again, but with the Lizard (aka Curt Connors) instead of The Green Goblin, and Captain Stacy as the authoritative thorn in Spidey's side instead of J. Jonah Jameson, and that's maybe okay, but a bit unorthodox. Where they're really going far afield is with the idea that Peter's parents are still alive somewhere and a part of a secretive government plot that's kept them hidden. I'm sure the fact that it exists has sent nerds to grumbling. If Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) survives, there'll be hell to pay, I'm sure.
While the film and its cast (which also includes Sally Field, Dennis Leary, Rhys Ifans, Campbell Scott and Emebth Davidtz) looks strong, the biggest hurdle it has to jump is its sheer unneccesity. The last franchise is certainly still in most people's minds, and to expect us all to forget about that on the drop of a hat is asking a lot. Then again, it is Spider-Man, who is one of the original crossover comic book characters, and the first film in the old franchise kicked the comic book movie craze through the roof.
Reviews are good but not great, similar to the reception Batman Begins got with its gritty revamp. There's not a really big new direction that's being taken with The Amazing Spider-Man, though – just more of the same, and without the excitement that the first film had of “finally doing a comic book movie right!”, I think this will struggle to achieve the same result. The six-and-a-half day opening “weekend” also smacks of desperation, and will certainly depress the weekend total. However, there are some positive signs, particularly from overseas, where the film is already outperforming Spider-Man 3 in some markets. Then again, they liked Battleship, too.
In 2007, Transformers took basically the same strategy and brought in $80 million pre-weekend and $70 million over the weekend itself. I think we're looking at a similar performance with five years of ticket inflation and IMAX/3D helping to counteract a general sense of “Meh. Seen it.” Look for around $90 million prior to the weekend and $76 million over it, for around $166 million over the first week.
Stay tuned for the full weekend forecast later this week.