2011 was a great year Internationally increasing 7% from 2010 but the story was not so great in domestic market where it declined 4%.
With passing 2011 all hopes are now set on 2012 to set more records and excite moviegoers to box office. Similar to 2011 we have a pocket full of franchises and animation titles (mostly in 3D) plus a few attempts at starting new franchises or reviving older ones for fresh audience.
The first movie name that comes to mind with 2012 is the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's much anticipated The Dark Knight Rises. The movie is a follow up to 2008's smash hit The Dark Knight which now stands as the third biggest movie all-time (was second when it was released). The fact that this is the finale makes certain that it will make atleast $400 million domestically. For crossing the coveted $500 million mark that only three movies have crossed till date The Dark Knight Rises will have to retain most of the audience from its predecessor. Talking about conclusions The Twilight Saga : Breaking Dawn Part Two brings the human-vampire love story's closure. These movies have almost peaked out their target audience and while the movie will reatin its audience there would not be a huge difference in the total like we saw for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two which was also helped by 3D.
The Hobbit, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the only movie that can challenge The Dark Knight Rises for this year's #1 position. The last entry of the franchise The Return of the King adjusts just a little below $500 million and did not have 3D boost. Albiet these factors don't necessarily mean incremental grosses, the movie should collect $350 million domestically, anything above that will depend on audience retention. Marvel finally brings the long awaited team-up of superheros in The Avengers (now in 3D). Past decade we have seen the origins of every superhero (some even got sequels), this is a sure-fire hit but none of the individual superhero movies have been able to pass $350 million at domestic box office. Whether this merge succeeds in bringing new live-action fans will depend on the quality of the movie itself.
There are other known live-action sequels like Men in Black 3 that has Will Smith returning after a long time screen absence, Daniel Craig return as the hearththrob spy James Bond in Skyfall, Liam Neeson and Sam Worthington's Greek mythology Wrath of the Titans, G.I. Joe: Retaliation that ditches most of the cast of the original, The Bourne Legacy which is a Bourne movie without Matt Damon, Ensemble of action heros in The Expandables 2, Fox's revenge thriller Taken 2 sequel to Liam Neeson's surprise 2009 hit along with Milla Jovovich's video game adaptation Resident Evil: Retribution and Kate Beckinsalse's vampire-werewolf-war horror Underworld: Awakening. These movies will all aim to become the highest of their respective franchise so they can generate another sequel.
There are a few new live action movies like Prometheus that looks more like a prequel to Ridley Scott's own 1979 Alien movie, Battleship that comes from Hasbro and looks very similar to Transformers from its latest trailers, Disney's big budgeted John Carter an actioner occuring in Mars to name a few. The one live-action that has held its own with these high-profile sequels with its cool trailers is Snow While and the Huntsman. While not completely original this version from first time director Rupert Sanders featuring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Thor famed Chris Hemsworth looks more marketable of two Snow White movies coming in 2012.
Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus and Battleship aims to kick-start new franchise, while all of them have generated good hype the movie that has generated most-hype is The Hunger Games. Based on Susan Collins popular books series featuring Jennifer Lawrance as Katniss in a future-fantasy, the movie promises to have plenty action which Twilight the much compared book series did not have. The sequels have already been planned but whether they will be as profitable as Twilight is yet to be seen. Then there is World War Z based on Max Brooks novel, this post-apocalyptic actioner starring Brad Pitt has a planned sequel in The Zombie Guide. A very similar strategy has been decided by Sony for The Amazing Spider-Man and although this movie is a reboot it looks more like an attempt to extend the series for a longer time period with fresh new cast. Just by brand name this could end up being one of the biggest titles of 2012. Speaking of reboots and reviving franchise Sony is also bringing remake to Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1990 hit Total Recall replacing him with an odd choice of Collin Farrell.
2012 also presents a healthy and fresh list of animated movies which unlike last year does not overwhelmingly fill itself with sequels. Leading the group is Pixar's original Brave and Dreamworks Animation's original Rise of the Guardian, both movies aim to have a healthy and leggy box office runs in the process getting fat totals. There are also high profile sequels that include the second sequel to Madagascar i.e. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and third sequel to Ice Age series in Ice Age: Continental Drift, both of these movies are bigger Overseas player than domestic specially the later whose predecessor still holds the title of Biggest Total for an Animated movie in Overseas markets. There is also the delayed release of Studio Ghibli's The Secret World of Arrietty that has already made more than $100 million in Japan from its 2010 run. Other animation titles include Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Wreck-It Ralph and Hotel Transylvania along with three stop-motion animation namely The Pirates! Band of Misfits, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie. Having so many stop-motion in a year is kinda surprising cause historically these don't attract as many audience as normal animation. Non-animated family titles have Jack the Giant Killer, Big Miracle, there are comparatively lesser titles this year in this genre which bodes well for regular animation movies.
While the demand for 3D seems to be on a decline (at least domestically), studios still believe that they will find audience by re-releasing their old classic movies in this format. Titanic (3D) seems to the biggest re-release given the perfect release date of 100 years from the tragedy. Also releasing is Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phentom Menance. On paper the older the movie the better chances for re-release to pan out since then there is fresh audience that would not have seen these classics on the big screen, but that is not always true.
There are plenty of comedy movies but comparatively lesser than last year. Of all the comedies including Men In Black 3 the one that really stands out is the third (and true) sequel to Universal's American Pie this time reuniting the entire team of the original in American Reunion. Fresh new comedies that strike the most are Mirror Mirror the second of the Snow White movies which is still a fantasy but the trailers make it look more like a comedy and the witch hunting (sibling) duo of Jeremy Renner and Gemma Artenton in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. In different flavors of comedy we have Valentine's Day actioner This Means War (with Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy), based on best selling Heide Murkoff's book What to Expect When You're Expecting, Jason Segal and Emily Blunt's romantic The Five Year Engagement, boasting an all star cast in the wedlock comedy The Big Wedding, Meryl Streep and Steve Carell's drama Great Hope Springs and Fox's remake of The Three Stooges to name a few.
The schedule can change specially for movies that are still far from their release dates (mostly November and December), regardless 2012 has a good mix of sequels as well original this could turn out to be a very good year for box office. So what movies will you watch in 2012?