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This story first appeared in the May 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Godzilla might have opened big, but Transformers: Age of Extinction will top the domestic box office this summer, predicts Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz, who expects a down season with only $3.39 billion, compared with last year’s $3.82 billion.
In his May 1 report looking at early May through Labor Day, Creutz predicts Paramount’s Transformers will earn $350 million, outperforming Sony’s sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($325 million), Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past ($250 million) and DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($250 million).
Creutz made waves last year when he blasted studios for packing too many tentpoles into summer. He proved uncomfortably prescient, correctly stating that The Lone Ranger, After Earth, White House Down and R.I.P.D. would flop. He was wrong, however, about World War Z, the Brad Pitt zombie thriller that he said would bomb; it earned $202 million domestically (and $337.6 million overseas).
Creutz’s analysis, delivered since 2007 in a research note called “The Dirty Dozen: Summer Movie Preview,” has been remarkably accurate. In 2012, 11 of his 12 picks topped the summer box office. In 2013, he predicted Iron Man 3 would dominate and, more impressive, that The Great Gatsby would surprise.
He might have overestimated Spider-Man 2‘s appeal: It has made $172 million after three weeks and will struggle to reach $225 million, much less $325 million. Creutz expects the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending (July 18) to be summer’s biggest flop — though he adds that “should be offset by what otherwise looks like a fairly attractive slate” for Warner Bros.
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