2013 Summer Box Office Blockbuster Contest Results

Here are the final results of the 2013 summer blockbuster contest announced about five months ago. To remind you, the point of the contest was to predict how well six big summer movies would do, and to choose the film not on that list that would do the best. The six films I chose and their final grosses were:

The eligible film not on this list that performed best over the summer was Despicable Me 2, which made $354,699,250. This marks the first year of the contest in which the sleeper film did better than any film on the regular list. The runner up on the sleeper film was Fast & Furious 6, which made $239 million by the close of the contest. But the real winner of the summer was Iron Man 3, which made $408,834,393, but was not included because it opened before the start of the contest. The most popular sleeper choice was Despicable Me 2, followed by The Lone Ranger. So most of the contestants were either very right or very wrong.

A note on the grosses: Variety has stopped publishing complete lists of weekly box office grosses for films in American release, probably due to their continuing struggles to stay afloat. These figures were taken from Box Office Mojo, which is where Variety now gets their partial lists of grosses.

This year, 21 people entered the contest, down one from last year, continuing the contest's slow, but inexorable, death spiral.

And the winner is long-time entrant George Wu, with 55 points. This is George's third victory, with previous wins in 2005 and 2011. The runner up is last year's victor, Dennis Holly, with 53 points. Congratulations, George!

Joshua Kreitzer correctly predicted that World War Z would make $200 million.

Here are the complete results, in increasing point order:

  • Darryl Marsee 7
  • Dr. Pain 18
  • Kelly Lau 20
  • Jen Lo 25
  • Matthew Merzbacher 25
  • J O 30
  • Don Marks 31
  • Atli Sigurjonsson 40
  • Brandon Bentley 41
  • Charles Odell 41
  • Tony W 42
  • Jeff Lau 44
  • Eugene Wallingford 45
  • Peter Beary 45
  • David Swanger 46
  • Joshua Kreitzer 47
  • Brett Buckalew 50
  • Paul Clark 50
  • Yan Wong 50
  • Dennis Holly 53
  • George Wu 55

    Thanks to all who entered.

    I chose three of the top five films of the summer for the contest, leaving aside Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, which also opened too early. But my other three picks kind of stunk. After Earth was very badly reviewed and little watched. The Hangover Part 3 probably put that series to rest, and Pacific Rim was a large disappointment, making $100 million in the US, but costing far more than that. At least I didn't include The Lone Ranger on the list, a film that, in conjunction with last year's Disney flop, John Carter, may cause that studio to stick with its existing tentpoles, plus whatever Pixar and Marvel choose to make. Just to have something to brag about, here's what I had to say about The Lone Ranger in the 2012 contest results: " decent chance of being next year's John Carter, a film that in retrospect everyone wonders why it was made at all". Nice to be prescient about something.

    But despite these and a few other high cost flops (like White House Down and R.I.P.D), this was a good year for Hollywood, primarily due to a large number of films that topped the $100 million mark, in many cases films that weren't too expensive to make. The Heat was probably the best performing of these, but films like The Conjuring, The Wolverine, Grown Ups 2, We're The Millers, Epic, and Now You See Me also broke that mark. The late arriving Lee Daniel's The Butler is very likely to make over $100 million, eventually. Note that good reviews are not the common theme among these well performing films, nor were poor reviews the absolute rule for the films that did badly. It's not the critics that are deciding success or failure in this market, nor is it the advertisers. If it were, The Lone Ranger would have been a huge hit.

    If the folks at Pixar know what's good for them, they should be worried. I said it last year, and I say it again. Monsters University made very nice money indeed, but it did not blow away the rest of the pack, and did not make nearly as much as Despicable Me 2, an animated film that I think most would agree was not much more than a reasonable sequel to a popular original, which would also describe Monsters University. The reviews of Monsters University were OK, but not what Pixar is used to getting. Their next film was recently taken away from its director, which, for Pixar, is not uncommon and not necessarily a sign of disaster, but can't make them feel comfortable. At any rate, Monsters University did not give a signal that Pixar's doldrums are over.

    And what of next summer? Well, more of the same. The studios are offering more superheros, more sequels, more children's animation, more rude comedies, and not much else. The Amazing Spider Man 2 kicks things off early, followed shortly by another X-Man movie. Pixar offers us The Good Dinosaur, which at least isn't a sequel or a princess movie. Seth McFarland directs and stars in A Million Ways to Die in the West, a western spoof with a promising cast. Later, there's sequel mania: 22 Jump Street, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, The Fast and the Furious 7, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and The Expendibles 3. We also get a few non-sequels: science fiction action film Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise; Malificent, which may or may not count as a sequel/remake/whatever of Sleeping Beauty; the already-reviled Fifty Shades of Gray; Hercules: The Thracian Wars, exercising Dwayne Johnson; Jupiter Ascending, another science fiction film, this one dedicated to the proposition that there must be a successful Channing Tatum action film in there somewhere; and Tammy, another Melissa McCarthy comedy of rudeness. I can't honestly say a single one of these films makes me the slightest bit excited.

    Back to the film contest page.