Basically built around the question of which were successful enough to prompt sequels. But there are signs of Hollywood’s ongoing structural problems here. As noted in the article, Universal had three successful movies (successful enough to prompt sequels).
However, the failure of Battleship* ate up a lot of those profits, just as John Carter ate up a lot of Disney’s profits from The Avengers. Admittedly, the profitable movies might have made up for the failures, but that’s not exactly a road map to success.* Of course, who knows who that works? Marvel is now owned by Disney, so the money Marvel makes ultimately accrues to them, as with Pixar. But how directly? Only their accountants know…maybe.
[Battleship only made $65 million domestically? Ouch!]
One shocking fact? The very mildly successful Snow White and the Huntsman cost a whopping $170 million to make! Yikes. That’s more than Thor cost. They’re going to either have to make the sequel for significantly less or have the second make a lot more money.
That’s possible, but not a slam dunk by any means. Clash of the Titans cost $125 million and made $500m worldwide. That’s profitable. Wrath of the Titans, the sequel, cost $150 million, and made $300m worldwide. At best, that’s just barely hitting the break even point. Toss in advertising and whatnot, and it might even have lost a small amount of money.
Universal fared a LOT better (for good or ill) with Seth McFarlane’s raunchy Ted. That cost a reasonable (these days, anyway) $50m, and grossed $240m worldwide. Nearly all domestic, because comedies tend not to travel well. Still, that’s significant money. Whether another trip to the well will made as much is another question, but there’s a lot of room for error there, whereas there isn’t with the Snow White sequel. (On the other hand, McFarlane has Universal by the short and curlies regarding a sequel.)
[Hmm, for some reason the rest of the article has been eaten. I hate that. I have less trouble writing something than trying to remember something I already wrote. Anyway....]
One comedy that *did* travel well was American Reunion, the fifth film in the American Pie franchise. The numbers are nearly identical to Ted’s, expect that about 75% of AR’s box office was overseas, while only 18% was for Ted. That means Ted‘s eggs are all in one basket. I expect a Ted sequel won’t make as much money (and will cost a lot more, because again McFarlane can demand a lot more), but surely will make some.
Universal still has one bullet left this summer, the reboot picture for the Bourne franchise. They have to be pleased that Jeremy Renner’s profile has been significantly raised by his having costarred in The Avengers. Indeed, Chris Helmsdale starred in Snow White and the Huntsman, along with Kristen Stewart, so Universal might be pursuing a strategy of getting actors who are familiar to audiences but who don’t command superstar wages.
Bourne Legacy will largely tell the tale for Universal’s summer, and maybe the year. If it hits big (it reportedly had a $150-160m budget, so the rough breakeven point would be about $300m worldwide), it will basically be box office gravy. If it tanks for some reason, it could push Universal into the red for the summer, or at least wipe out nearly all the profits from U’s other movies, in conjunction with Battleship.
Anyway, lots more good stuff in that article. Check it out.