The Report: Franchise Players
A record number of familiar tales will fuel this year’s box office.
Will box-office attendance pick up this year after dropping more than 5 percent in 2010? If so, it will be thanks to more than two dozen sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots coming to multiplexes in 2011. Notably, 11 franchise pics are set to unspool, the most ever (the norm is five or six). “Some will say it’s a year of popcorn,” NATO president John Fithian admits. “That’s true, but that’s what sells.” To that end, many hot tentpoles are in 3D for the first time — Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars, Transformers, Harry Potter, Kung Fu Panda, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Happy Feet — upping earnings potential. And there’s plenty of action outside of summer and the holidays, when such franchise pics as Fast Five, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family and Spy Kids 4 arrive. Box-office gurus say 2011 could even outshine 2002 or 2007, the most recent time franchise installments were as plentiful.
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