News

Grading Mojo's Summer Forecast

by Ray Subers
Man of Steel
 

 
September 6, 2013

Prior to the beginning of the Summer box office season, Box Office Mojo made very specific predictions for every title which we thought would earn over $100 million at the domestic box office. Now that the season is over, we thought it would be worth taking a look back at how those predictions panned out.

While predictions were also made for the overseas box office, we're going to refrain from evaluating those figures: not only is the foreign box office harder to forecast, but it's also tougher to tell at this point where many of these titles will wind up.

For each title, we will list the domestic forecast, the actual gross (in most cases an estimate) and the percentage difference [(Actual-Forecast)/Forecast]. Each prediction will be assigned a grade on the following arbitrary scale: A (less than 10% difference), B (10-19.9%), C (20-29.9%), D (30-39.9%) and F (over 40%).

The grades are pretty evenly divided—there are a handful of As (Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Heat, etc.), a handful of Fs (World War Z, White House Down, The Smurfs 2), and plenty of titles that fall somewhere in between.

Iron Man 3

Forecast: $400 million
Actual: $409 million (est.)
Difference: +2%
Grade: A

This prediction turned out to be spot on. Instead of being viewed as a sequel to Iron Man 2 (which would have likely meant a slight drop) Iron Man 3 instead felt like an Avengers spin-off, which helped it retain about two-thirds of that movie's attendance.

Despicable Me 2

Forecast: $300 million
Actual: $363 million (est.)
Difference: +21%
Grade: C

Many animated sequels drop off from their predecessor, even when that predecessor is well-liked (we're looking at you, Kung Fu Panda 2). Additionally, this looked to be a very competitive Summer for animated movies, which could have held Despicable Me 2 back a bit. Instead, it crushed everything in its path, and will end up earning over $110 million more than its predecessor.

Man of Steel

Forecast: $290 million
Actual: $292 million (est.)
Difference: +1%
Grade: A

Mojo's Man of Steel prediction was the most-accurate of the bunch. To get to the $290 million figure, we adjusted Superman Returns for inflation and 3D/IMAX pricing, and added a bit of a bump thanks to Christopher Nolan's participation. That wound up being about right.

Monsters University

Forecast: $280 million
Actual: $266 million (est.)
Difference: -5%
Grade: A

This was another extremely accurate prediction: as expected, Monsters University wasn't as soft as Cars 2 ($191.5 million), nor was it as strong as Toy Story 3 ($415 million).

Star Trek Into Darkness

Forecast: $250 million
Actual: $230 million (est.)
Difference: -8%
Grade: A

A year ago, we would have absolutely predicted over $300 million for Star Trek Into Darkness. Approaching the start of Summer, though, the Star Trek trailers never really seemed to seal the deal, so we expected it to perform about in line with its well-liked predecessor (similar to what happened with Iron Man 2). It wound up a bit below that level, but was still reasonably close to the prediction.

Fast & Furious 6

Forecast: $215 million
Actual: $238.7 million
Difference: +11%
Grade: B

With a crowded May release schedule, and without any major new cast additions on par with The Rock, we bet that Fast & Furious 6 wouldn't be able to grow Fast Five's audience. Instead, the movie once again became the highest-grossing entry in the franchise, which is almost unheard of for a sixth entry.

The Heat

Forecast: $155 million
Actual: $159 million (est.)
Difference: +3%
Grade: A

Almost every Summer, at least one original comedy becomes a huge hit. With the combination of Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig, The Heat seemed like the frontrunner this Summer—we predicted the movie wound wind up a bit below Feig's Bridesmaids, which was pretty accurate.

The Hangover Part III

Forecast: $150 million
Actual: $112.2 million
Difference: -25%
Grade: C

Each of the previous two Hangover installments made over $250 million, so it felt like a bold prediction to say this one would earn $100 million less. Whoops.

Pacific Rim

Forecast: $145 million
Actual: $103 million (est.)
Difference: -29%
Grade: C

Similar to Super 8 and Prometheus, the buzz on the Internet for Pacific Rim was much higher than the actual interest among general moviegoers. Still, it genuinely seemed like Pacific Rim would do noticeably better than Cowboys & Aliens ($100.2 million).

White House Down

Forecast: $140 million
Actual: $73 million (est.)
Difference: -48%
Grade: F

Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, and Roland Emmerich all have strong box office credentials, and the White House setting seemed like it would make this a good Independence Day choice. Instead, White House Down wound up looking too similar to Olympus Has Fallen, and audiences largely avoided it. This is a particularly embarrassing prediction.

Continued with a look at predictions for 'The Lone Ranger,' 'World War Z,' 'The Wolverine' and more >>

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.

Related Stories:
Summer 2013: Winners & Losers
Summer 2013 Sets New Record with $4.76 Billion
'Despicable' Drives July to Second-Highest Monthly Gross Ever
'Man of Steel,' 'Monsters U' Lead Record-Setting June
May Kicks Off Summer 2013 With Record Grosses
Summer 2013 Forecast

Related Charts
Summer Calendar Grosses
2013 Grosses (2013-only releases)
Year-to-Date Comparison



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