Entertainment Weekly's Summer Box Office Predictions: Reporting the Forecast
Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Movie Preview issue hit the stands (or my mailbox) recently and there’s a lot of guffawing since their cover boy, Harry Potter, won’t be seen until summer now. Happens. Part of the difficulty of forecasting the news rather than reporting it.
These types of issues are generally fun in foresight and depressing in hindsight. Fun because you can imagine just how good these movies will be. Depressing because they’re often not. I still have EW’s Summer Movie Preview issue, which includes extensive write-ups of films like Speed Racer (for May), The Happening and The Love Guru (for June), and X-Files and Meet Dave (for July). X-Files is their big July write-up; it gets four pages. Hancock is second with two pages. In third place is that Batman sequel with one page. Happens.
Don’t know if EW attempts a box office prediction for autumn or if box office is irrelevant in autumn, but they did for the summer. Here it is, with actual rankings and actual box office (thus far) included:
|EW Pred.||Movie||Pred. BO||Actual||Actual BO|
|1||Indiana Jones and the Kingdom...||$355.9M||3||$315M|
|2||Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian||$310.8M||9||$141M|
|6||The Dark Knight||$255.0M||1||$471M|
|7||Kung Fu Panda||$224.6M||6||$211M|
|8||The Mummy: Tomb of...||$176.5M||18||$86M|
|9||The Incredible Hulk||$147.2M||10||$134M|
It's still early, of course, and films like Tropic Thunder and The Mummy will move up. But enough? I know, it's a game, and EW didn't play too badly. Their big error, besides the DK one, was thinking Chronicles of Narnia would do so well. Their rationale? “The first movie made $292 million, and that was without a hottie prince in the lead role.” More interesting is what they left off the summer's top 10: Sex and the City, which is no. 7 with $152M, and Wanted at no. 10 with $133M. I.e., the two films with female leads. Oop.
Again: I know. It's not like my own box office predictions — when I’m asked to make them — stand up, either. I just think in general the media is too fascinated with this kind of thing. It’s hard enough to figure out what has happened or is happening without figuring out what’s gonna happen.