In 2011 the comic book movies were quite a mixed bag, really. From the tent pole films (Thor, Captain America etc.) to stuff that even the diehard fans didn’t know about (Priest, Dylan Dog). In 2012 things are a little less diverse, but that is not a bad thing. There are almost certain hits and a few that are not likely to do all that well.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (February)
This one came out recently and has underperformed at the box office. Marvel/Disney was looking for something in the area of 33 million and ended up with an opening weekend more like 22 million. Maybe it’s just me, but was anyone really looking for this film? This one is getting better reviews and cost less than half what the first one did to make, so it is already more likely to be a money-maker for the studio. My issue is that it didn’t really have a built-in audience waiting for it, so why bother? This is not the kind of film that will draw lots of casual viewers. I would expect this to clear a profit and end its initial theatrical run with 80-90 million, so we can expect a third one if the studio thinks the overall result is positive. The Negative press that Marvel has been getting this year could affect this film and possibly the other 2 Marvel character releases.
The Avengers (May)
This should be a huge hit. I imagine Marvel is thinking something north of 60 million for the opening weekend. The set up for this has been the previous 5 Marvel films, all of which did well at the box office, so the fans will be making squeeeee noises all the way through it. Even if this is a great shining turd of a film, which is unlikely given Joss Whedon’s involvement, this thing makes at least 150 million. If it turns out to be what most are expecting, tack on another 100 million.
A long time in coming, this one is pretty likely to have the broadest appeal on this list. The first 2 were monster hits and there is no reason this will be any different. The premise looks really fun and is likely to be fertile ground for the director Barry Sonnenfeld to go wild and make this and even bigger hit than the previous 2 films. $200 million. Easy.
The Amazing Spider-Man (July)
This has had an impressive build up, and the excitement is high. There are some changes being made to the franchise in this reboot. Some of them are returning the character to something more closely resembling the books. This time there are actual web shooters instead of goo from his body. However some of the changes are being met with grumbles from fans. Having Peter’s parents involved in the story at all, let alone being pivotal to the plot, is not going over well. If they fail to kill off Uncle Ben, then that will be what really drives the wedge in for fans. This film is the one that is most likely to end up like last year’s Green Lantern, highly anticipated but met with no real enthusiasm for the film once the end credits roll.
Oh God, please don’t suck. This is the film that will break the record for opening weekend currently held by the last Harry Potter film (just under $170 million), which took that away from the Dark Knight ($158 million). No comic book film franchise has put together a 3 film run that was good all the way through. Some people count the films like Iron Man and Thor because they are leading into the Avengers franchise, but I do not. Even if I did, Iron Man 2 was not great. Christopher Nolan will not let us down, and yes, we will be able to understand Bane. So relax, we are in for a huge and fantastic movie. Warner Brothers will have another Batman cycle started up within a few years, and that will have a tough act to follow. Dark Knight made just over half a billion dollars domestically, in part due to the Heath Ledger factor. This film can only hope the people who went to that will want to see this as well. I don’t really see this hitting the same mark without that. More likely this one breaks the opening weekend mark on its way to somewhere just north of $400 million.
I hated the first try at Judge Dredd. So did everyone else that saw it. I loved Dredd growing up in the pages of 2000 AD and his own book from Eagle Comics, but the only thing that has me interested here is the fact that it looks like it will be REALLY dark and true to the comics. Karl Urban is an interesting choice to play the lead and I am excited. Unfortunately this film will die a quick death, not because it won’t be good, but because it will just not reach the audience and be seen by anyone not actively searching for it. I will be pleasantly surprised if this film hits $75 million.
G.I. JOE 2
Really, who cares? The first one was exactly what was expected. It was harmless fluff. A clown in an expensive suit. While this one looks like a more serious attempt at a good film, it still has more restrictions on it that any of the other films on this list. The toy company will be strict and want the most family friendly product they can put in theaters. While that does not guarantee a bad film, it does make it likely that this film will fail to hit the $100 million mark.