2011 has been an year of ups and downs where first quarter hit lowest attendance in past decade then April-May was exceptionally strong. April and May 2011 were the biggest months ever though maybe not the most attended months (thanks to inflation, ticket price increase, IMAX and 3D).
This is probably the most crowded summer in the recent past filled with sequels and comedies. The potential is so huge that we could see a continuation of April and May for consecutive 5 record breaking months...which in itself will be a record.
June 2011 does not have releases in numbers but it will have a lot of help from holdovers specially The Hangover Part 2 and KungFu Panda 2 that were unleashed on the biggest Memorial Day weekend ever and last weekend of May. Cars 2 has victory written all over it for June crown, not only that it has a fair shot at winning this summer, with Panda 2's conservative opening its a guarantee that Cars 2 will win the biggest animation movie crown as well. Don't expect a huge Toy Story 3 worth opening but great legs and good total. X-men: First Class aims at rebooting the franchise, though after last two not-so-well received entries its risky Box Office potential is still hanging. Fox has done a good job building hype and anticipation, expect subdued opening and better legs given the competition for June is not looking strong either. Super 8 marks the return of Speilberg in alien-action genre teaming with JJ Abrams (Star Trek - 2009). Paramount hasn't been able to generate hype still the early reviews have been very kind, which makes me think this will be a leggy run. Warner Bros brings this summers only DC Comics superhero in Green Lantern coming in 3D. Green Lantern is not as famous as its fellow alien hero Superman and marketing though agressive hasn't been able to connect, plus the aliens are too childish for attracting mainstream audience.
June has its share of comedies with Sonys' Bad Teacher (starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake), which should be the first new R-Rated comedy of the month, buzz is good and expect a decent run here. Fox brings the first non-animated Family Comedy in Mr. Popper's Penguins (arguably Hop and Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 can also be considered in this genre but they target a lot younger) which can become a surprise hit. While there are so many action movies going around this could be a good counteract movie for families to enjoy together, not being in 3D will help. Before I forget Relativity is also bringing Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer which I expect to go in the same path of last year's Ramona and Beezus but with the advantage of summer where more kids/girls will be out of school.
In Limited release expect big numbers from Sony Classics's Midnight in Paris and Fox Serchlight's The Tree of Life (coming of its Palme D'Or Win at Cannes Film Festival) and a healthy expansion for both these movies throughout June. Weinstein Company's Submarine, Fox Searchlight's The Art of Getting By, Summit's A Better Life and IFC's The Trip(2011) could all act as good counterpart for adult and arthouse audience.
July 2011 sees the biggest movies of the year with Warner Bros. grand finale of Potter series in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Paramount's Transformers: Dark of the Moon coming in 3D, the very first for both the franchise. Both of these are expected to have HUGE opening and then fade out fast with a respectable total. Both of these are expected to make more than $300 million domestically, though currently I give the edge to Transformers for a bigger total. The final of the Marvel comic superhero movies this year comes with Paramount's Captain America. It is coming out at Potter's second weekend, after having so many superhero movies this year we could see some fatigue. A subdued opening with decent run but nothing spectacular is expected. Universal brings its daring grahic novel adaptation with Cowboy and Aliens which is a mix of Cowboy and action genre. It has potential still though these genre are not prone to huge numbers specially in face of such strong competition. Expect lesser opening and decent run with the help of summer.
July has whole lot of comedies as well with Warner Bros Horrible Bosses looks like best of the lot. Except good opening and decent legs. Sony's Friends with Benefits will try to repeat the run of this Januarys surprise hit No Strings Attached whereas Warner Bros Crazy, Stupid, Love with a stellar cast would try to immitate Date Night's run. Sony is also bringin talking animals comedy Zookeeper with Kevin James but the genre generally does not give big numbers. Late wide release Larry Crowne from Universal that's Directed and starred by Tom Hanks will have hard time finding adult audience. Same goes for Fox's Monte Carlo which targets teen girls specially with Transformers being the competition. Animation movies are possibly the dullest this month with BV's Winnie the Pooh targetting younger but going face to face with Harry Potter might not be such a good idea. We also have Sony's The Smurfs in 3D which hasn't been able to generate much interest yet, though it will have lesser competition and has potential to show nice legs.
In Platform releases we see a lot of variety in Magnolia's thriller The Perfect Host, Fox Searchlight's historical drama Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lionsgate's Drama The Devil's Double, Sony Classic's comedy thriller The Guard to name a few. There are a bunch of documentories as well but given the number of wide release films and huge films these movies might not be able to reach out all of potential audience.
August 2011 will not see as much huge leftover business from July. While it does not have big blockbusters, August will rely on variety and studios trying different things this year with more comedies, little bit of action and surprisingly Horror. Biggest movies of the month are going head on in the first week of August with Fox's daring prequel to anew a dying franchise with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Universal's body switching comedy The Change-Up with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. Both of these are expected to open decent and have a good run. Warner Bros will try to scare teens with Final Destination 5 in 3D and try to repeat 2009's The Final Destination which became the highest grossing movie of the franchise albiet lowest in admissions considering inflation and 3D. Sony brings a fresh concept with 30 Minutes or Less starring Jesse Eisenberg. The trailers have already become a big hit on youtube and other social network sites, this could turn out to be a surprise hit of the month.
Lionsgate is trying to reboot a well known character franchise with Conan the Barbarian (2011) the original starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, the signs for this one are not looking as great. Tristar brings revenge seeking Zoe Saldana in Colombiana with an interesting marketing "Remember where you came from". This will be the first test of Zoe's star power to carry a movie on her own, expect good opening with okish legs. There are no animation movies this month after having atleast one for continuous 6 months from February still families have Weinstien Company's Spy Kids: All the Time in the World that claims to be coming in 4D (yeah you heard it right...ugh), expected not-so-good run even when there is no competition. Adults will have the only help in Drama The Help from Buena Vista, there is also Focus Features romantic comedy One Day which should attract teens. Both will have tough time finding right audiences. Last minute addition to the schedule is Fox's concert movie Glee Live! 3D!, it is trying to match this years other concert documentory Justin Beiber: Never Say Never, though Glee characters are not as popular as Beiber. Buena Vista's Fright Night in 3D is trying renew the horror that the 85's original brought, though the early signs suggest that the mix between comedy and horror might not generate revenues. FilmDistrict's Horror Don't Be Afraid of the Dark will try to mimick this year's suprise hit Insidious, the early signs are good though the competition is quite big.
Expansion movies generally don't do well this time of the year, though the Awards campaign can start this early similar to The Hurt Locker. Weinstein Company's drama Dirty Girl, Indican's action thriller Saigon Eclipse, Roadside Attractions drama Circumstance, Sony Classics drama Higher Ground, Weinstein Company's Our Idiot Brother can all have a very decent run, though none of them is a surefire hit.
June to August 2010 were quite big with Shrek Forever After's good legs, The Karate Kid breakout, Toy Story 3's year winning run, Eclipse surpassing New Moon, Despicable Me breakout and Inception's monstrous run. 2011 has a potential to be the biggest Summer ever though it will depend on how it pens out from here. Lookout for the next edition of Movies 2011 - September to October