Seven of the 12 $100 million films this summer were released in 3-D (including three animated hits). Last year had exactly the same number. The big difference was that Christopher Nolan had the clout to refuse to shoot "The Dark Knight Rises" in 3-D. Last year, four of the five biggest films were 3-D (only "Hangover 2" wasn't). This year the Nolan film was joined by "Ted" as a top five non-3-D release. That hardly qualifies as a trend though, and expect the studios to continue to push the digital process.
Imax however continues to be a bigger draw. Movietickets Inc. reported this week that for the summer they had a 30% increase in ticket sales for higher-priced Imax presentations.
This emphasis on visual spectacle and special effects, along with all the other factors mentioned, will just reinforce the narrow range of films released during the summer.
Adults still had films to see
The lessons learned from this summer, in terms of future production, won't be applied for another two years. But while there's evidence that studios are shifting away from over-reliance on too-few tentpoles, the globalization of Hollywood will continue, and the studios will continue to bat for the fences. The risks are just too high to stray too far from the tried and mainly true.
Title (Distributor) US/Canada gross Total world gross Budget
1. The Avengers (Buena Vista) $618 million $1.5 billon $220 million
2. The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.) $423 million $942 million $250 million
3. The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony) $258 million $705 million $230 million
4. Brave (Buena Vista) $230 million $443 million $185 million
5. Ted (Universal) $215 million $371 million $ 50 million
6. Madagascar 3 (Paramount) $214 million $583 million $145 million
7. MIB 3 (Sony) $179 million $622 million $225 million
8. Snow White & the Huntsman (Universal) $155 million $394 million $170 million
9. Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) $154 million $816 million $95 million
10. Prometheus (Fox) $126 million $341 million $130 million
11. Magic Mike (Warner Bros.) $113 million $154 million $7 million
12. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) $86 million $131 million $125 million
(All of these films will add to their totals at least slightly. "The Bourne Legacy" will pass $100 million easily. Worldwide is tougher to project, but with much of the world yet to open, somewhere between $200-250 million looks likely).