The Lone Ranger Forecast: $135 million Actual: 90 million (est.) Difference: -33% Grade: D
Even if the movie looks awful, the team behind Pirates of the Caribbean should be good for at least $100 million, right? Wrong.
World War Z Forecast: $135 million Actual: $203 million (est.) Difference: +50% Grade: F
World War Z opened a week after Man of Steel, and its trailer didn't clearly suggest that zombies were involved. For this to become Brad Pitt's highest-grossing movie ever—not to mention the Summer's top original movie—is truly a miracle. Unfortunately, this meant our modest prediction was way, way off.
Epic Forecast: $130 million Actual: $108 million (est.) Difference: -17% Grade: B
Epic always looked like a weak animated offering. However, it faced little competition for family audiences over Memorial Day weekend, and Blue Sky Animation's previous lowest-grossing movie was Robots with $128.2 million. Ultimately, it couldn't even get close to that mark, so the prediction wound up a bit too high.
The Wolverine Forecast: $125 million Actual: $133 million (est.) Difference: +6% Grade: A
Coming off the poorly-received X-Men Origins: Wolverine—and with a cast made up mostly of unrecognizable Japanese actors—we correctly predicted that The Wolverine would be the lowest-grossing X-Men movie to date at the domestic box office.
Elysium Forecast: $120 million Actual: $95 million (est.) Difference: -21% Grade: C
With goodwill from District 9 and a big-name star in Matt Damon, we expected Elysium to do a bit better. Unfortunately, original sci-fi has had a fairly low ceiling this year, and Elysium will wind up right between Oblivion and Pacific Rim.
The Smurfs 2 Forecast: $115 million Actual: $72 million (est.) Difference: -37% Grade: D
The Smurfs 2 will wind up earning about half as much as the first Smurfs movie, which is an unprecedented drop for a closely-timed family sequel. Blame it on the first movie's awful reception among parents (who ultimately make the purchasing decision) along with Despicable Me 2's stronger-than-expected performance.
Turbo Forecast: $115 million Actual: $82 million (est.) Difference: -29% Grade: C
Opening just two weeks after Despicable Me 2, it always seemed like Turbo would be one of DreamWorks Animation's lowest-grossing movies ever. It was hard to imagine, though, that it would earn around $20 million less than now-notorious DreamWorks bomb Rise of the Guardians.
Grown Ups 2 Forecast: $110 million Actual: $132 million (est.) Difference: +20% Grade: C
Star Adam Sandler was coming off two of his biggest disappointments—Jack and Jill and That's My Boy—though that didn't affect Grown Ups 2 as much as expected. The comedy sequel retained over three-quarters of the first movie's gross, which isn't too shabby.
After Earth Forecast: $105 million Actual: $60.5 million Difference: -42% Grade: F
Nine of Will Smith's previous 10 movies had earned at least $138 million, and Jaden's The Karate Kid earned a whopping $176 million just three years ago. Regardless of how awful After Earth looked, it seemed unlikely that it would miss $100 million by such a huge margin.
The Great Gatsby Forecast: $100 million Actual: $144.8 million Difference: +45% Grade: F
While many have read and enjoyed The Great Gatsby, it was hard to imagine younger audiences would rush out to see the adaptation of a book that their ninth grade English teacher made them read. Warner Bros. marketed the heck out of this, though, and it wound up surpassing even the most generous expectations.
2 Guns Forecast: $100 million Actual: $77 million (est.) Difference: -23% Grade: C
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in a buddy action comedy seemed like a safe bet for $100 million. Unfortunately, 2 Guns looking way too generic, and its on pace to close on the lower-end of Denzel's typical range.
Other $100 Million Movies
The Conjuring (est. $138 million): Aside from the Paranormal Activity franchise, it's been many years since a horror movie earned over $100 million, so leaving this off the forecast seemed reasonable at the time.
Now You See Me (est. $118 million): On paper, May 2013 was going to be one of the most competitive months ever, and we expected a modest magician thriller to get passed over for higher-profile content.
We're the Millers (est. $140 million): When the Summer predictions were originally published, We're the Millers didn't even have a trailer yet, so it was hard to make a judgment on it. Even with the trailer, though, it would have been nearly impossible to predict it would be this big.
Lee Daniels' The Butler (est. $120 million): When predictions were made, this wasn't even scheduled for a Summer release.