x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious and holiday flicks put Hollywood ahead in box office gains

High-profile flops such as The Lone Ranger, After Earth, RIPD and Turbo were offset by mega-hits like Fast & Furious 6 and Iron Man 3.

Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, was one of the Hollywood blockbusters of 2013. Disney, Marvel Studios / AP Photo
Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, was one of the Hollywood blockbusters of 2013. Disney, Marvel Studios / AP Photo

Despite a string of summertime flops, Hollywood is expected to have a banner year at the box office, coming in just shy of US$11 billion (Dh40.4bn) in the United States, the largest annual take ever. But because of higher ticket prices, actual attendance in North American theatres remained flat after a decade of decline.

With the current box office tally about 1 per cent ahead of last year at this time, 2013 could surpass 2012’s overall haul of $10.8bn by more than $100 million, according to box office tracker Rentrak.

High-profile flops such as The Lone Ranger, After Earth, R.I.P.D. and Turbo were offset by mega hits such as Fast & Furious 6 and Iron Man 3, which consistently filled theatres last summer.

More recently, Gravity has earned $254m in the US, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has grossed $378m and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has brought in $150m.

A strong holiday schedule is also boosting the year’s box office total. “There has virtually been every kind of genre of film available,” said the Rentrak box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “You have blockbusters like The Hobbit and esoteric, challenging films like Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. All of these films get people to the movies.”

Social media has also helped boost sales, notes Richie Fay, Lionsgate’s president of domestic distribution, with Twitter and other services providing a power­ful marketing tool for studios and a faster way for fans to spread that all-important word of mouth. “People don’t have to wait a day for a print story anymore. It’s an important part of the growth of the industry.”

Studios are hoping to continue that growth in 2014 with releases such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

* Associated Press

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