The genre hits of summer 2012

With The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, genre movies are back and bigger than ever. Or are they? 

Can two enormous hits save the box office and the movies in general, or  is Hollywood still in a slump regardless? With so much in the news about the box office horserace, everybody’s probably a little bit of a movie pundit / arm chair quarterback, so how have the movies been doing this year so far?


Well, with the summer just about over, the two big boys of course are The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, but as The Wrap reports, “the numbers show that the box office will finish flat, or a little down from last season’s $4.4 billion haul. All summer long, it was one big step forward, two back.”

The winners this summer also include The Amazing Spider-Man, which also got strong reviews, made almost $700 million world-wide, and gave the franchise a new lease on life. Men in Black 3 racked up a total of $620 million worldwide, and the big sleeper hit is Ted, which generated some $213 million domestic, $115 million overseas – clearly a big return on a $54 million investment.


Snow White and the Huntsman also did well with $154 million domestic, $389 million worldwide, and Brave gave Pixar it’s 13th #1 at the box office, and made over $400 million world-wide. Prometheus also did pretty decently, although it didn’t live up to the anticipation, which was off the charts.


The Wrap also tells us that The Dark Knight Rises has been #1 overseas for five weeks, and it’s grossed more overseas than The Dark Knight. But again, with a number of big and medium sized hits, there were big flops too like Rock of Ages, The Dictator, and everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Battleship, which could never get over bad buzz from the get go.


Other bombs include the Total Recall remake, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Dark Shadows. The last two were particularly disappointing to me because they looked promising, and many self-respecting geeks like myself are Dark Shadows fans.

If anyone could have brought it back, it would have been Tim Burton, and the trailer for Total Recall also looked promising, but perhaps with Total Recall, it’s still pretty fresh in people’s minds, even from over twenty years ago, and Dark Shadows is too long ago for today’s generation to get into it.


Overall, there’s still going to be plenty of sequels, reboots and superhero flicks to come, and what are the lessons of all this? I personally can’t think of many at the moment, except perhaps think twice before you adapt a board game. Also, superheroes are still clearly going to rule the roost for a while, and no matter how tired we are of remakes they’re still going to be coming off the assembly line for the forseeable future. And last, but certainly not least, we’ve learned that a little movie, even if it’s about a teddy bear of all things, can still break through among the genre mega-blockbusters.