Summer 2012 is here, which means that Hollywood is gearing up to release an onslaught of summer blockbusters, but this year is shaping up to be different from all of the others. In what you could only describe as "The Year of the Sequel," it seems that a lot of movies that are slated to be released this year are either sequels or in some cases prequels to movies that have done well in the past. Its not hard to see why the industry took this route, as 2011 saw the lowest movie attendance since 1997, even with movies such as "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and "Bridesmaids" leading the way.
The low attendance over the past years can be attributed to factors such as the high cost of movie tickets, the prevalence of tablets and digital downloads, and services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, which have convinced a large number of consumers that they would be better suited to wait until the movies become available for home viewing. One thing is certain, Hollywood is well aware of this and plans to "bring it" this summer.
The Avengers (May 4)
"The Avengers" is the first movie to lead off the wave of Hollywood blockbusters. The trend of superhero movies has done well for Hollywood, and all of the lead characters have had full-blown feature films ("Iron Man," "Thor," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Captain America: The First Avenger") that have done extremely well in the box office, grossing over a billion dollars. "The Avengers" did not disappoint, as the film had the largest U.S. opening weekend of all time and is the fastest movie to gross $1 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. With a budget of $200 million it's safe to say that "The Avengers" is a success and with "The Avengers 2" already in development you should be ready for a repeat performance.
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
There is one movie that is as highly anticipated as "The Avengers," and that is "The Dark Knight Rises." The final chapter of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is following up on "The Dark Knight." "The Dark Knight" is one of the most highly-rated movies of all time, and has been ordained "the best superhero movie of all time" by many. "The Dark Knight" was also a box office success, grossing over $1 billion while only costing $185 million.
Prometheus (June 8)
Another movie that is slated to do very well in theaters this summer is "Prometheus." It follows the trend of being part of a series, but instead of a sequel, "Prometheus" is the prequel to the first film of the "Alien" franchise. While there are no recent historical indicators of how the movie will perform, what is evident is that the franchise is well-liked and that the movie has been highly anticipated by fans for almost a decade.
The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
Another movie that is halfway following the trend, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is a reboot of the series, starting over from the beginning as opposed to picking up where "Spider-Man 3" left off. The Spider-Man franchise has done well at the box office, with $2 billion in box office revenues while only spending $817 million, so it's expected that this movie will have similar success. "The Amazing Spider-Man" is rumored to have a $220 million budget, according to Richard Norton, an actor who has worked on the film. While no official numbers have been released, the reported $220 million price tag puts it right around the range of the previous films and the high-budget superhero movies that are to be released this summer, and expectations are just as high.
Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1)
The first non-prequel/sequel of the predicted summer blockbuster group is "Snow White and the Huntsman." The title gives you an idea of what the movie will be about, but don't be fooled, this film will be nothing like Disney's "Snow White." The film has taken a more gritty approach to telling the story and will be a full on action film with epic fight scenes and a healthy dose of CGI. The film is also on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of budget, costing $70 Million to make, according to the director of the film, Rupert Sanders. As such, the potential for it to be a success is higher than other films.
The Bottom Line
This summer is shaping up to be one of the most profitable summers in Hollywood history, bringing a lot of high quality movies to the table. If you're not much of a superhero fan, then you can look forward to films such as "Men in Black 3," "The Bourne Legacy" and "The Watch," which are all slated to be released this summer.