Analyst: Warner Bros. Will Score Most This Summer; DreamWorks Animation Could Be in Trouble

Marvel Entertainment
"Iron Man 3"

Doug Creutz of Cowen and Co. names his "Dirty Dozen" movies he thinks will dominate domestically at the box office this summer season. No. 1 is "Iron Man 3."

Time Warner is in position to benefit most from the summer box-office season, while DreamWorks Animation faces the most challenges, according to a Wall Street analyst who released his annual prognostication on Friday.

Doug Creutz of Cowen and Co. picked his “Dirty Dozen” list of movies that he figures will account for about 70 percent or more of this summer’s total domestic box office. Topping his list is Iron Man 3 from Disney/Marvel, though the studio with the most titles on the list is Warner Bros.

Creutz estimates Iron Man 3 will top out at $350 million domestically. His pick for the second biggest film of the summer is Monsters University, from Disney/Pixar, which he figures will earn $275 million.

Next on his list is a tie at $250 million between Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount and Despicable Me 2 from Universal.

The rest of his Dirty Dozen shapes up like so: The Hangover Part III from Warners ($225 million); Man of Steel from Warners ($220 million); Fast & Furious 6 from Universal ($220 million); The Wolverine from Fox ($190 million); Turbo from DWA ($171 million); a tie between The Great Gatsby and Pacific Rim , both from Warners ($150 million); and Grown Ups 2 from Universal ($125 million).

Those 12 films will make about $2.556 billion domestically, while the entirety of the box office this summer will amount to about $3.651 billion, Creutz predicts. Last year, the Top 12 performing films accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total domestic box office during the summer season.

Creutz says that if he’s wrong about this year's Dirty Dozen, it’s probably because one or more of several other films he names will sneak into the Top 12 and knock out one of his picks. Among the titles most likely to do that, are: After Earth or White House Down from Sony; Paramount’s World War Z; Disney’s The Lone Ranger; Red 2 from Lionsgate or Universal’s R.I.P.D.

The titles he thinks are most at risk of not performing as well as he has predicted, are: The Wolverine, Pacific Rim and Turbo.

Titles having only a “reasonable chance” of cracking the Top 12 this summer are Epic, The Heat and The Internship from Fox; and Sony’s This is the End and Smurfs 2.

Creutz acknowledges that he has more confidence in several titles than do other experts, starting with The Great Gatsby. “This appears to be one of the few films this summer not directed at kids or young men, and as such, we think it can be effective counter-programming appealing to women and adult audiences,” he writes.

And one title where Creutz is on the very low side of estimates is Man of Steel. “Anyone remember Sucker Punch?” Creutz writes. “Zach Snyder’s very distinctive visual style worked well for 300, however his subsequent films have received very mixed reviews and many critics compare his works to big-screen video games, which could restrict the audience to young males.”

Creutz writes that Warners “is the best positioned of all the major studios to have a solid summer at the box office.”

Of DWA, though, he writes: “The competitive situation facing Turbo has kept us on the sidelines regarding shares, as we are very concerned it could be an odd man out this summer.”