Audiences, assemble! Geeky summer movies 2012

Audiences, assemble! Geeky summer movies 2012

I’ve previously given you a

The Measured Circle 2012 Movie Preview

but I suspect you’re a bit more focused on the summer now than you were in January. 😉

Well, I don’t know about that, actually…they keep moving back when summer starts. It’s a bit like the way you can buy Halloween decorations in August in the stores.  It used to be that the summer movie season wasn’t much…that’s pre-Jaws (1975).  Kids were outside playing kick the can in the park, right, not in the movie theatres…and they certainly wouldn’t be caught dead in the mall in those days.

Well, once Jaws showed that movies in the summer could make serious money, it got pushed back to Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) as the start of the summer movie season.

Now, no question, it starts in the beginning of May.

Even that’s a bit fuzzy. This year, The Hunger Games is going to continue to make money in May…and maybe even into June and beyond. Youth-skewing movies often have legs, and I could see The Hunger Games being seen over and over again in the summer. It’s possible it will get to $400m dogro.

Okay, let’s look at some of what will likely be the biggest geeky movies of summer 2012!

May 4

The Avengers

Even though this is a very expensive movie, we already know that Disney’s going to be happy to see this after John Carter. How do we know? As I write this, it has already opened outside the USA, and is doing great, setting records.

May 11

Dark Shadows

Even though the trailer made me mad, it wouldn’t be a good idea to bet against a Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration. Will it beat the second week of The Avengers, though? It’s been a year where movies have held the top spot for more than a week…that might be the case here.

May 18


Hoping to repeat the success of the Transformers franchise, this is a loud, special effects laden adaptation of a Hasbro toy/game property…in this case, the naval warfare game. I think Transformers is inherently more accessible than sinking ships. It had already been a cartoon, and had clear characters. People talk about the first Transformers as an adaptation of the toy, but I really feel like it was more an adaptation of the cartoon series. I think this will do fairly well, but $200 million in domestic gross would really impress me.

May 25

Men in Black III

I like what I’ve heard about it. You can never have too many Rick Baker aliens, and doing a time travel thing is clever, and could freshen things. I would guess (and I know I shouldn’t be doing these predictions), that it’s a $80 to $120 dogro movie…very respectable, but not huge.

June 1

Snow White and the Huntsman

Gritty, grimy version of the fairy tale,after Mirror, Mirror’s silly fluff…this could attract some Hunger Games fans and some Twihards, with Kristen Stewart in the lead. I’m not going to guess on this one, though.

Piranha 3DD

I think $60m dogro total would be good for this, but it will probably play fairly well overseas…I don’t think you’ll need an extensive English vocabulary to get the plot. 😉

June 8


Undeniably, one of the movies the geek core is most anticipating (with Ridley Scott directing and Damon Lindelof co-screenwriting)…but will it play beyond that? I question whether this is really a summer movie…hypothetically, people like to think more in the fall. 😉 This could play like Inception, but I think it has a real challenge to pull those kind of numbers. One problem: the tie-in to Alien (not matter how peripheral) may not be the broad attraction it once was, since we’ve seen a lot of Alien stuff (including fighting the Predator).

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

If this beats Prometheus for the opening weekend, that will be the story on Monday. 🙂 I honestly think it might. Kids’ movies have legs (especially ones with characters with four or more), and I don’t think this is played out. I suspect it’s going to do pretty well…possibly in the low $100m range.

Safety Not Guaranteed

This is an art house, cult movie that probably won’t make $40m dogro, but it’s possible your geek friends will like it.

June 15

Geeks step aside this week for Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy.

June 22


It’s Pixar, so you can count on a hit…no jinx. 😉 You are going to hear about this having a female lead, but is that really an issue? If the movie underperforms, we can still look at The Hunger Games this year…and we’ll see how Snow White and the Huntsman does. If they all do well, expect more interest in women’s archery in the Olympics…and I think Geena Davis may still be available for an action movie. 🙂

Abraham Lincoln Vampire: Hunter

This is the year that Seth Grahame-Smith is tested as a screenwriter (with this and Dark Shadows).  Great cast (Rufus “Dark City” Sewell, Dominic “I’m playing Howard Stark, not Howard Hughes in Captain America” Cooper) for geeks, and interesting director (Timur Bekmambetov, the Russian “Night Watch” movies)…but is this too offbeat for the general population? I’m thinking it is. It’s going to be challenged by its $70m budget. Is it going to play well overseas? I’m thinking Grahame-Smith may read better than it plays as a movie, but we’ll see.  I think Brave may take this weekend.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

This is another under $40m dogro art house movie, in my opinion, that a small number of people may really like.

June 29

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

I think they might like it if this was retitled, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation with an appearance by Channing Tatum of The Vow and 21 Jump Street”. 😉 The cast is interesting: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bruce Willis, Ray “Darth Maul” Park…and Jonathan Pryce as the US President? This may be more straight ahead than the first movie, and may do pretty well. It may be, as Isaac Asimov said, a movie where you “park your brain” outside…although the author was talking about Star Wars.  I’m not saying it will be as big as Star Wars, by any means, but on the order of $80m to $120m wouldn’t surprise me. Oh, look for Han Soto in this…I’ve noticed the actor (and certified IT guy) showing up in some big movies.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Another under $40m artie, I think, this may be some people’s favorite movie of the year. Set in the American South with non-actors…and with prehistoric animals of some kind.

July 6

The Amazing Spider-Man

With great responsibility comes…a completely new cast? Well, except for a Stan Lee cameo, of course.  The idea of doing a reboot this quickly is interesting, and continuity is not a concern. Were Spidey’s webshooters organic or technological in the last movie? Who cares? 😉 I think the buzz on this is good, and Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are a definite draw.  My guess is that this appeals outside of the nerdcore, and breaks $200m (and could go beyond).

July 13

Ice Age: Continental Drift

This one should be a solidly performing sequel.


The Family Guy guy makes a non-animated, sensibility-challenging movie about an adult with a living teddy bear. Yes, the cast is intriguing (Mila Kunis, Patrick Warburton), but I’d be surprised if this draws big crowds. I think there may be quite a bit of buzz about it    (“With a scene we can’t tell you about on tonight’s program”), but will it be something people see repeatedly?

July 20

The Dark Knight Rises

When this opens, Spidey could still be on top…so the headlines could have to do with Batman taking on Spider-Man. It’s going to be positioned as the end of the Nolan Batman movies, and that should help. I’m a big concerned about Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I like  Anne Hathaway, but I just don’t get the predatory feel in the clips I’ve seen. I think of Catwoman as being…cruel, in some ways, and that’s not something I usually feel with Hathaway. We’ll see, though. Regardless, this is likely a $200m dogro movie.

July 27

Neighborhood Watch

Audiences may be ready for a comedy at this point…Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn are a neighborhood watch group that encounters aliens. Seth Rogen’s last screenplay, The Green Hornet, might worry some people about this one, but my guess is that it will deliver as a mid-level movie. It’s possible events in the news could have a negative spin on the title… Update: on May 4th, Twentieth Century Fox announced that they were changing the name of the movie to avoid just that negative spin I suggested. It will now be called just The Watch.

August 3

The Bourne Legacy

If Jeremy Renner has momentum from The Avengers, that could help this. I would say it’s somewhat in danger of skewing older than folks who will see the same movie ten times in a summer. Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, David Straitharn, Stacy Keach…the silver fox club may make this attract a more “serious” crowd, but that may not be the ticket to $100m. It could be well-reviewed, which could help.

Total Recall

They are hyping this a lot, but I have my doubts about its success at the box office.  Is the Schwarzenegger movie that beloved? If it is, is it because of the concept, or the cast and the special effects (neither of which will be the same)? If it was the concept, why not go with the Philip K. Dick title (We Can Remember It for You Wholesale).  Colin Farrell’s last movie was Fright Night, which wasn’t exactly a blockbuster.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Really a kids’ movie, in an existing franchise. I wouldn’t expect it to outperform the last one.

August 10

Geeks cede the week to The Campaign (Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis), and Hope Springs (Meryl Streep).

August 17

You’ve heard about counterprogramming…this weekend is a great example of releasing movies that are movies that are planning to split the market. It’s unlikely that the same people are going to Sparkle (a musical with Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston), ParaNorman (a quirky animated movie), and The Expendables 2.  They are figuring they are roughly splitting women and fans of musicals, animation fans (which might be families, although this isn’t for little kids, I think), and action movie dudes.

Of course, that’s overly broad, but that’s how marketers think.


Director/Screenwriter Chris Butler worked on Coraline and the Corpse Bride, but this is first directing movie (co-directing with Sam Fell of The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away).  I’m not confident on this one burning up the box office.

The Expendables 2

Another testosterone fest, and a follow-up to a successful movie, and some new cast draws (including The Hunger Games Gale, Liam Hemsworth). I think this may do well. I don’t think people who saw the first one were dissatisfied, and I don’t think they’ve changed the formula too much on this one. The first one dogroed $103m, and I think this might, possibly top it.

August 24

The Apparition

Low budget (maybe $17m), I think this will be a profitable movie, and could do in the $50m dogro range. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies, and I thought he was impressive in Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is one of the stars, and I think he is somebody to watch over the next few years.  Mega-producer Joel Silver is involved.

August 31

The Possession

This seems too similar to the last one (in terms of audience) to succeed unless the other one completely disappears. I’m not sure why they didn’t spread this out. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen’s Comedian) and Kyra Sedgwick are in it. I wouldn’t bet on this one breaking $40m dogro.


Likely to be more of an art house picture, this one may be pretty interesting. Directed by Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge), and with Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) and Amy Smart. It’s something that could be supernatural happenings…on a jet. Shakes on a plane? 😉 Sorry, that makes it sound campy, but that’s probably not the tone.

Well, there you go. 🙂 I’m not claiming my suggested numbers will be accurate here…I’m giving you how they strike me. If anything, I’ve noticed I tend to overestimate success. I will look at this later to see how I did, though. 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


One Response to “Audiences, assemble! Geeky summer movies 2012”

  1. My take on…The Avengers « The Measured Circle Says:

    […] The Measured Circle Irregularly published, irregularly conceived « Audiences, assemble! Geeky summer movies 2012 […]

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