erik lundegaard

Saturday March 08, 2014

Breitbart's 2014 Box Office Predictions Obvious, Lack Context

Hunger Games mockingjay dress

Bretibart says Katniss will rise highest two years in a row. Has that ever happened?

The Breitbart site has given us its 2014 box-office predictions two months into 2014, but what the hell. The first two months are always throat clearing for Hollywood anyway.

Among its predictions?

  1. “Mark Wahlberg will become the industry's next big action star.”
  2. “With films 300: Rise of an Empire, Maleficent, Divergent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Dolphin Tale 2 set to open well, a lot of new talent will be joining current new talent heavyweight Jennifer Lawrence.”
  3. “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One Will Be Year's Biggest Grosser.”

Wow, going out on a limb, BB. My responses:

  1. Wasn't he 10 years ago?
  2. New talent? You mean Shailene Woodley from “The Descendants”? Or maybe Sir Ian McKellan from “X-Men”? It would be nice if they named names, as their political ancestors did.
  3. The sequel to the biggest movie of 2013 will be the biggest movie of 2014? Shocker!

Actually, wait. Maybe that last one is a shocker. Has the same franchise movie ever been the year's biggest movie in back-to-back years?

Here's a list of sequels that were the biggest domestic box-office hits of the year, followed by time removed from predecessors:

  • 1980: “The Empire Strikes Back” (Three years after “Star Wars” was 1977's biggest movie)
  • 1983: “Return of the Jedi” (Three years after “Empire” was 1980's biggest movie)
  • 1991: “Terminator 2” (Seven years after the first movie was the 21st-biggest-hit of 1984)
  • 1999: “The Phantom Menace” (16 years after “Jedi” was 1983's biggest movie)
  • 2003: “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (One year after “Two Towers” was the second-biggest movie of 2002)
  • 2004: “Shrek 2” (Three years after “Shrek” was the third-biggest grosser of 2001)
  • 2005: “Revenge of the Sith” (Three years after “Clones” was the third-biggest movie of 2002)
  • 2006: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” (Three years after the first “Pirates” was the third-biggest movie of 2003)
  • 2007: “Spider-Man 3” (Three years after “Spider-Man 2” was the second-biggest grosser of 2004)
  • 2008: “The Dark Knight” (Three years after “Batman Begins” was the eighth-biggest hit of 2005)
  • 2010: “Toy Story 3” (Eleven years after “Toy Story 2” was the third-biggest hit of 1999)
  • 2011: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” (One year after “HPATDH Part 1” was the fifth-biggest grosser of 2010)
  • 2013: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (One year after “The Hunger Games” was the third-biggest hit of 2012)

Two things you notice about the above: 1) Sequels used to be spaced three years apart and now come more quickly, thanks to CGI; and 2) we're loving our sequels more and more. Or maybe Hollywood's just better at making them. For two decades, in the 1980s and '90s, only four sequels were the year's biggest hit: three “Star Wars” movies and “T2.” But in the last decade? A sequel has been the year's biggest hit every year since 2003 with the exception of 2009 (“Avatar”) and 2012 (“The Avengers”); and you can make an argument for the latter as a sequel.

Anyway, the larger point stands: The Breitbart site seems to be predicting the obvious but is actually predicting something that's never happened. They should have mentioned that in their post.

Except ...

The above stats are taken from Box Office Mojo, which tracks back only to 1980. Numbers before then are an iffy territory (if they're not now). But if you do go back further, as I did with “The Hollywood Reporter of Box Office Hits,” you'll find one sequel that was the No. 1 box office hit of the year one year removed from its original. “The Bells of St. Mary's,” with Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley, was the No. 1 movie of 1945 the year after “Going My Way,” with Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O'Malley, was the No. 1 movie of 1944.

So it has been done. Once. Seventy years ago.

Breitbart site? It's called research.

Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley

Katniss is trying to do what only this man has ever done. But can she sing?

Posted at 09:00 AM on Saturday March 08, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office  
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