Winners and losers emerge at summer box office midpoint

Fri Jul 9, 2010 12:10am EDT
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Much as the baseball world takes stock of who's hot and who's not with its midseason All-Star game, Hollywood has a good sense of summer winners and losers once Independence Day is torn from the movie release calendar.

Warner Bros. and Fox have sipped from a glass half empty so far during the hottest box office season of the year, while Paramount has tied one on from a cup that runneth over. Paramount tops seasonal rankings by a comfortable margin, thanks to its distribution of a lucrative DreamWorks Animation tentpole as well as its own summer-launching of "Iron Man 2," a $309 million domestic grosser.

Paramount had grossed $634.5 million between May 7 and July 5, good for a 29% market share, followed by Disney ($402.8 million, 18%), Sony ($248.5 million, 11%), Summit Entertainment ($240.7 million, 11%), Fox ($202.6 million, 9%), Universal ($170.5 million, 8%) and Warner Bros. ($162 million, 7%).

Rentrak data show Fox still topping year-to-date rankings thanks to the leggy run of December opener "Avatar," but that figure includes $82 million from its Fox Searchlight unit. On that basis, Fox has collected $1.11 billion this year for a 20% share, while Paramount has taken in $1.08 billion (19%).

Fox hopes this weekend's wide opener "Predators" marks a turnaround in its disappointing summer fortunes. The Adrien Brody starrer is a followup to two previous horror thrillers -- 1987's "Predator" and 1990's "Predator 2."

The studio's seasonal disappointments have included soft openings for a pair of actioners -- "The A-Team" and "Knight and Day" -- whose current totals of $70.5 million and $49.5 million, respectively, have done little to turn executive frowns upside down.

Fingers are also crossed on the Fox lot for the family comedy "Ramona and Beezus," which opens July 23, and the comedy spoof "Vampires Suck," set for wide release on August 20.

Warners -- which topped summer and annual b.o. rankings last year -- also will aim for season-salvaging success from pics still to hit theaters. Two looming releases are particularly key: Christopher Nolan's Leonardo DiCaprio starrer "Inception" (July 16) and 3D family sequel "Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore" (July 30).   Continued...