Although in many parts of the country it's still sweatier than a sumo wrestler in a sauna, the U.S. summer box office will be wrapping up the season as we head into Labor Day weekend. How did things go over the last few months? Better than expected, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Going into this weekend, "Nielsen EDI data showed domestic tallies of $3.96 billion that are sure to rise to beyond $4 billion by the Monday holiday." The box office was surprisingly strong "thanks to unsurprisingly robust sequels and a shockingly lucrative performance by the latest installment in a 19-year-old superhero franchise." The latter refers, of course, to The Dark Knight, although I have to wonder why its success is considered so shocking. Was anyone expecting, say, Meet Dave to siphon off some of the Bat's profits?
Perhaps it was a matter of exceeding a jittery industry's low expecations going into the summer season. According to the article, "[s]tudios had feared the absence of enough obvious highflyers on industry films slates, but their anxieties proved unfounded." Luckily, they also had Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk to help shore up the numbers with mega bucks, and everyday hero Hancock did very well for himself, too.
What will Hollywood do next summer without as much high-profile superstrength to brace their tentpoles? [Cough Transformers cough G.I. Joe cough! - Zach] Studios have become dependent on the tights-and-capes set to line their wallets. Remember that the reason the next Harry Potter installment was pushed back eight months to July 2009 was because Warner Bros. felt their summer landscape would be otherwise bleak. My Spidey Jerk-Around Senses are wondering if they'll see fit to shove back Watchmen and/or the Wolverine movie, too.