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Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 09-24-12


 
“Hotel Transylvania” – In theaters September 28th

“Hotel Transylvania” – In theaters September 28th

“Looper” – In theaters September 28th

“Looper” – In theaters September 28th

TKN2-133R: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) employs his very special set of skills. Photo Credt: Magali Bragard ©2012 EUROCORP — M6 FILMS – GRIVE PRODUCTIONS. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

TKN2-133R: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) employs his very special set of skills. Photo Credt: Magali Bragard ©2012 EUROCORP — M6 FILMS – GRIVE PRODUCTIONS. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

What’s working: With the fourth quarter fast approaching, Hollywood’s gearing up for a fall and winter season of Oscar hopefuls and holiday hits.

Since year to date ticket sales are only running about 2.5 percent ahead of this time in 2011 – mostly thanks to higher ticket prices and premium priced 3D releases — it won’t be easy for 2012 to show the kind of growth distributors and theatre owners are all hoping to see.

Nonetheless, gloomy media reports about films that struck out at the boxoffice really don’t tell the whole story. Moviegoers have spent nearly $8 billion this year so far on tickets to a wide range of movies playing in domestic theatres, eight of which have grossed over $200 million and 10 others that have done between $100 million and $200 million. And, of course, the year’s not nearly over yet.

The third quarter could end solidly this weekend with the arrival of two films that have been tracking nicely – Columbia’s PG-rated 3D animated “Hotel Transylvania” and TriStar Pictures’ R rated sci-fi action thriller “Looper.” And the fourth quarter should start out on the right boxoffice foot with Fox’s Oct. 5 launch of the PG-13 action sequel “Taken 2,” which is already tracking strongly in double digits.

In upcoming columns, I’ll focus on what’s on the horizon for the rest of this year. But for now, let’s take a look back at what’s been working at this year’s boxoffice. It’s easy to see that moviegoers have been responding best to films that can be categorized in five basic genres – franchise episodes, 3D presentations, comic book inspired action fantasies, animated family films and action adventures driven by young adult appeal books. In many cases the year’s biggest hits fall into several of these genres, maximizing their moviegoer appeal.

Seven of the year’s Top Ten films to date were released in 3D, hammering home the fact that 3D eventizes movies and tells audiences looking for something special that this is it. Five of the Top Ten are rated PG-13, reflecting the boxoffice advantages of broad playability. Four titles are animated and rated PG. Only one film in the top group is rated R – the comedy “Ted,” for language not for sex or violence.

The year’s biggest boxoffice hit so far, Marvel Entertainment and Disney’s “Marvel’s The Avengers,” is a 3D comic book driven fantasy action blockbuster whose story revolves around a team of superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and Thor, all of whom are familiar from starring in their own franchises. After opening May 4 to $207.4 million, the PG-13 “Avengers” went on to gross $622.4 million domestically.

Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises,” which ranks second on the list, is a PG-13 rated comic book driven action fantasy franchise episode. It opened July 20 to $160.9 million and to date has taken in $443.1 million domestically. In all likelihood, “Rises” would have risen even higher at the boxoffice if not for the tragic and senseless in-theatre killings in Colorado that darkened its opening.

Lionsgate’s PG-13 sci-fi action adventure “The Hunger Games” is third. It’s the first episode in a franchise based on the first book in a trilogy of best-sellers by Suzanne Collins. Its screenplay was co-written by Collins, director Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit”) and Billy Ray (“Flightplan”). “Games” opened Mar. 23 to $152.5 million and ended up doing $408 million domestically.

Fourth place on the chart goes to Columbia and Marvel Entertainment’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” a reboot of the studio’s blockbuster franchise that was in theatres in 2002, 2004 and 2007. The first three Spidey films grossed $1.1 billion domestically. The PG-13 rated 3D comic book driven episode opened July 3 to $62 million and went on to gross $261.1 million domestically, bringing Spidey’s domestic theatrical franchise cume to $1.4 billion.

Disney and Pixar Studio’s PG rated 3D animated action adventure “Brave” finished fifth. After opening June 22 to $66.3 million, it took in $233.6 million domestically.

Universal’s comedy “Ted” is sixth and stands out on the Top Ten list because of its R rating. It opened June 29 to $54.4 million and has taken in $217.8 million domestically.

DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures’ PG rated 3D animated comedy adventure franchise episode “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” came in seventh. It opened June 8 to $60.3 million and has grossed $215.9 million domestically.

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s 3D PG rated animated comedy “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” is eighth. After opening Mar. 2 to $70.2 million, it grossed $214 million domestically.

Columbia Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s PG-13 rated 3D sci-fi action comedy franchise episode “Men in Black 3” is ninth. It opened May 25 to $54.6 million and finished its domestic theatrical run with $179 million.

Rounding out the Top Ten is 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studio’s PG rated 3D animated comedy adventure franchise episode “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” It opened July 13 to $46.6 million and took in $158 million domestically.

Bottom line: Moviegoers have been voting at the boxoffice for 3D action adventure franchise episodes inspired by comic books; 3D animated family films; and action adventures driven by best-selling books for young adults.