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The Highest Grossing Films in the Summer of 2011

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | November 3, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | November 3, 2010 |

Christ, people. If you like blockbusters, there has never been a summer like what we’re expecting in 2011. Ever. If it were possible for Hollywood to save the American economy (and we do rank first in the world in film exports), then 2011 is the year it’s likely to do it. There is the potential for four billion dollar movies (worldwide), and domestically, probably eight to ten $200 million movies. Americans are going to be spending a lot of time in theaters come next summer, and while there will certainly be losers, it’s gotta be a good time for the industry as a whole, which is one of the few that’s managed to (mostly) buck the current recession the country is mired in.

However, Jon Favreau — who is directing Cowboys and Aliens, starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and Sam Rockwell — suggested that, for filmmakers and studios, it’s going to be a “blood bath.”

It’s Omaha Beach, it’s going to be a blood bath. There’s never been a summer like this next summer. It’s going to be bloody [for filmmakers and the studios]. As we were sticking thumb tacks in a calendar we realized that this is going to be looked back upon as Omaha Beach … There’s not a weekend where there won’t be teeth on the floor. The audience wins but it’s going to be rough for people making these movies. Then there was the big rush to 3D, so you have all of these people fighting for a limited number of screens and to get the 3D done, since most of these are hybrids or conversions, so this is a technology that is still in the relatively early stages and there’s going to be a lot of blood pressures going up in the months ahead. (Source: LAT)

It probably will be a nerve-wracking summer for filmmakers and studios, but when there’s as many options as there will be in Summer 2011, it’s my guess that — rather than pick and choose — most audiences will see multiple films. Cannibalism has never been a major problem for Hollywood; avid moviegoers will make time to see two movies in a weekend, if there good enough reason (or enough hype) to justify the trip, even if it means paying extra for 3D. Some of these movies, of course, will be horrible, but that’s never stopped audiences from attending huge studio films.

It’s kind of an exciting time, especially if you’re into geek movies. Below are my tentative domestic box-office predictions of the top 15 movies of the summer of 2011 (and there are plenty more blockbusters due out in the fall and winter of 2011). Not included in the top 15 are several other movies that have decent box-office prospects, including Tom Hank’s Larry Crowne, Jonah Hill’s The Sitter, Conan 3D, Kevin James’ The Zookeeper, Emma Stone’s Friends with Benefits, Jon Krasinski’s Something Borrowed, Ryan Reynolds’ The Change-Up, Ben Stiller’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins, or Paul Bettany’s Priest (In 3D), plus one or two other potential sleepers that haven’t even been announced yet.

15. Rise of the Apes (James Franco’s Planet of the Apes prequel): $137 million.

14. Cowboys and Aliens (Jon Favreau’s sci-fi western with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford): $145 million

13. The Smurfs (in 3D) (Big-screen adaptation of The Smurfs with Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria): $152 million.

12. Fast Five (Fast and Furious sequel to the $155 million fourth film): $160 million

11. Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom: Kung Fu Panda sequel to the $215 million hit): $175 million.

10. Green Lantern (Ryan Reynold’s superhero franchise): $182 million.

9. X-Men First Class (X-Men prequel): $190 million.

8. The Hangover 2 (The Hangover sequel to the $277 million hit): $201 million.

7. Super 8 (J.J. Abrams’ directed, Steven Spielberg produced sci-fi flick): $210 million.

6. Captain America (another Marvel movie): $245 million.

5. Thor (the summer blockbuster opener, one of the few movies that has two weeks mostly to itself in the blockbuster market): $260 million.

4. Cars 2 (sequel to the $250 million original): $280 million

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (3D) (sequel to the $305 million third film): ($295 million):

2. Transformers 3: (Sequel to the $405 million second film): $387 million.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part Two in 3D) (final installment in the franchise): $400 million

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.