Box Office Halftime Report
Revenue is down, but the summer is up -- and blockbusters are (finally!) coming.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? After a prolonged downturn at the domestic box office, summer revenue is up 11 percent from last year, helping to narrow the year-over-year divide.
In January, revenue was down by 27 percent compared with last year's Avatar-boosted tally, sending shock waves through Hollywood and the exhibition business. The gap narrowed to about 20 percent by the time Universal opened Fast Five in late April, when things began to improve. Through June 19, revenue was down by only about 8.3 percent.
"It was a horrible start to the year with product bereft of quality coming out of the holidays," says one studio executive. "There was a single here and an occasional double, but no triples or home runs until April."
Paramount leads in studio market share, with help from distribution of the Marvel-produced Thor and DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 2. Universal's Fast Five and its surprise smash Bridesmaids have combined to land it in second place, breaking a string of box-office underperformers.
Most in Hollywood believe 2011 will eventually catch up with last year, once Paramount's Transformers: Dark of the Moon (June 29) and Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (July 15) get under way. Early tracking suggests Transformers could open at nearly $200 million during its six-day frame over July 4 weekend. And the last Potter film should benefit from being the first in the series in 3D.
Still, the downturn has left many rattled, and the drop in 3D ticket sales has everyone concerned. A pic used to earn 55 to 65 percent of its gross from 3D; now, that number has dropped to 45 percent.
The one positive is the foreign market. More and more, Hollywood movies are making the bulk of their money overseas, and the international box office is up 3 percent year-to-date.
TOP 10 DOMESTIC MOVIES (Jan. 1-June 19)
- The Hangover Part II (Warner Bros.): $233.1 mil
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Disney): $220.7 mil
- Fast Five (Universal): $206.8 mil
- Thor (Paramount/Marvel): $176.1 mil
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks): $143.7 mil
- Rio (Fox): $138.7 mil
- Bridesmaids (Universal): $136.5 mil
- Rango (Paramount): $122.7 mil
- X-Men: First Class (Fox): $120.4 mil
- Hop (Universal): $108.1 mil
TOP 10 INTERNATIONAL MVOIES (Jan. 1-June 19)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Disney): $731.9 mil
- Fast Five (Universal): $385 mil
- Rio (Fox): $332.3 mil
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks): $280 mil
- Thor (Paramount/Marvel): $259.1 mil
- The Hangover Part II (Warner Bros.): $257.6 mil
- X-Men: First Class (Fox): $163.6 mil
- The Green Hornet (Sony): $129 mil
- Rango (Paramount): $119.3 mil
- Battle: Los Angeles (Sony): $118.9 mil
Boxoffice figures: Boxoffice Mojo