This summer was like a battlefield of awesomeness, with a larger-than-average slew of superhero movies, action movies and escapist fare. Some films emerged victorious, while others fell by the wayside.
Back in early May, we asked you to predict which films would be a sleeper hit, and which films would be a surprise flop. How did your predictions match up with reality? Not that well, actually. Now you know how tough it is for Hollywood executives.
A whopping 38 percent of you believed that Rise of the Planet of the Apes would be "this year's Speed Racer" — a movie which cost tons of money to make and winds up making no money at the box office. But in fact, the Planet of the Apes reboot is one of the summer's big success stories, making a sturdy $54 million in its opening weekend — as opposed to the $40 million that some observers were predicting. And it's well on its way to making back its modest $93 million budget.
Meanwhile, the "sleeper hit" poll was won by Cowboys and Aliens, which a full 38 percent of you believed would be the surprise hit of the summer. In fact, the comments were full of people who didn't vote for Cowboys and Aliens only because they believed it was a sure thing, and thus not a surprise hit at all. Sadly, Cowboys and Aliens failed to beat The Smurfs in its first weekend, and collapsed "like a drunk in a Western saloon" in its second weekend (as Time Magazine put it.) The film is unlikely to recoup its $163 million production budget, plus huge advertising budget.
So how did you do in predicting films' performance, overall? Let's just go through the box office picture, and compare it with your predictions. (Note: We didn't include every film in both polls. If a film was too big to count as a "sleeper hit" or enough of an underdog that it wouldn't count as a "surprise flop," we didn't include it.) With that out of the way, here are the full results.
Thor (May 6): A hefty $448 million for the Thunder God.
Your predictions: Just over 3 percent of you predicted it would be a flop. Although some people argued Thor had had "too much media exposure" and seemed ripe for "the chopping block."
Priest (May 13): $76 million worldwide, or not really enough to pay off the $60 million budget.
Your predictions: Only about 4 percent expected this to be a surprise hit. Wrote Gaveedra, "If Priest is a hit I will be really surprised. Bonus if it wins an Oscar and my mom goes to see it."
Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (May 20): Just over a billion dollars worldwide. Currently the #3 movie of the year after Transformers and Harry Potter.
Your predictions: A little over 6 percent of you thought it would be a flop. Most people seemed to think it would do about as well as the other Pirates movies, but there was some speculation about a backlash. Wrote avgwhiteguy: "Pirates of the Caribbean will be like a 4th Matrix movie. Nobody I know liked the 2nd and 3rd ones, of either franchise."
X-Men: First Class (June 3): A decent $349 million worldwide, enough to make back its $160 million budget and then some. Domestic box office was weak, but global box office pulled it up.
Your predictions: Almost 6 percent of you thought this would be a surprise flop, less than predicted that fate for Pirates. People predicted "bad blood" from X-Men 3 would turn people off. Wrote 87Integra, "No question in my mind that we'll end up looking at First Class and saying, 'Man, the general public just didn't want this movie.'"
Super 8 (June 10): A very nice $202 million worldwide, for a film that cost only about $50 million to make.
Your predictions: About 27 percent of you predicted this film would be a surprise hit. And only about 5 percent predicted it would be a flop. (We put it on both polls.) Wrote 5erge, "It's J.J. Abrams. 'Nuff said." Added amygdala, "Super 8 will do as well as Cloverfield — money in the bank."
Green Lantern (June 17): An anemic $160.2 million worldwide, on a skyrocketing budget that's estimated at over $200 million. This is one of the summer's worst flops.
Your predictions: About 16 percent of you thought it would be a big flop, second only to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. "I'm sorry, but I have to say Green Lantern is starting to look more and more DOA with each new piece of footage I see. Ryan Reynolds is great as an actor, but I fear the mist around this work may be the stench of poo," wrote madtube. But there was some dissent in comments. "I think Ryan Reynolds will grab the female audience easily," wrote one reader.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (June 28): Just over a billion dollars.
Your predictions: Over 8 percent of you thought it would be a huge flop. However, most of the comments were people admitting they hoped Transformers 3 would flop, but knowing movie audiences, it would probably do well. And lo and behold, it did.
Zookeeper (July 8): A blah $123 million, on a budget of $80 million. So not great.
Your predictions: Less than 1 percent of you thought it would be a surprise hit. Vindication!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15): The third billion-dollar movie of the summer.
Your predictions: Almost nobody predicted this one would be a flop. Although some people did predict that Transformers 3 would beat this movie, which didn't happen. "There is no way Harry Potter will flop," wrote edwardgrimm. Added PeteIRL, "4 people voted for Harry Potter? 4 people have either never heard of Harry Potter or know nothing about films."
Captain America (July 22): $246 million worldwide (so far). With an estimated $140 million budget, this film will end up making money — but not surprisingly with its America-centric title, it's doing better in the U.S. than overseas. It's not going to wind up being a huge hit, but it's done fine.
Your predictions: About 4 percent of you thought this would be a flop. Wrote aLynnHall: "Captain America has a lot of potential for floppage, especially debuting the second weekend of the Harry Potter mobs." KEPinion warned that there might be "poisonous word of mouth" about this film.
Cowboys and Aliens (July 29): So far, just $67 million on a $163 million budget. It doesn't appear to have opened overseas yet. This film seems unlikely to make its budget back, unless it becomes a foreign smash.
Your predictions: As we mentioned, almost 34 percent thought this movie would be a smash, and only 8 percent predicted it would flop. "Yeah, Cowboys and Aliens has a giggle-inducing title, but I still think people will go see James Bond, Indiana Jones and the girl from TRON blow shit up," said Ninja Robot Pirate. But collex countered, "I have a despairing suspicion Cowboys & Aliens will underperform."
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5): So far, $77.4 million worldwide, on a budget of about $93 million. And everybody expects this film to do well in following weekends, thanks to high Cinemascore ratings and strong reviews.
Your predictions: As we mentioned, 38 percent of you thought this would bellyflop. "Apparently we all remember how awful the Marky Mark Planet of the Apes was... cause if we do, the public sure as hell should," wrote TVs_Frank. "I just don't hear anybody caring about Rise of the Planet of the Apes," added Jared. The general consensus was that the Apes series was "tainted" by the Tim Burton fiasco.