CATEGORIES Movie NewsIt doesn't take a brainiac like Tony Stark to predict that "Iron Man 3" will be one of the summer's biggest hits. All you have to do is look at the nearly $200 million it already earned in overseas markets this weekend. The movie's a certified smash even before a single American ticketbuyer has seen it.
In fact, Hollywood accountants are bracing for good news this summer. There are a lot of potential blockbusters; the analysts at Box Office Mojo are predicting that as many as 20 movies could cross the $100 million threshold in North American theaters.
Then again, that seems like an especially optimistic number. With the crowded schedule that makes up the first half of the summer season, there are bound to be some disappointments as well -- some much-touted movies where sales will fail to live up to the hype.
Here, then, are Moviefone's own guesses as to what will be the biggest hits of summer 2013, as well as which movies we're worried will underperform.
BELIEVE THE HYPE "Iron Man 3" (May 3): The good will generated by 2012's gargantuan "The Avengers" will still be strong enough to buoy this threequel to the top of the summer heap. With its pole position as the first summer release, it'll have four full months to rake in the bucks. The overseas take so far suggests that the buzz on this one is justified, so there's no reason the film won't earn well over $300 million in the U.S. and Canada.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" (May 17): After the success of J.J. Abrams's 2009 reboot, "Trek" fans are primed for another adventure of the young Enterprise crew. Few are better than the guy behind "Lost" and "Super 8" at drawing out excitement over mysterious plots. Keen anticipation over this visually lush 3D adventure, and over the secretive nature of the villain (Benedict Cumberbatch), should drive huge opening weekend business and a total of just over $300 million.
"Man of Steel" (June 14): We're a little worried that star Henry Cavill (who?) will be overwhelmed by colorful supporting players like Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon. Otherwise, this Superman reboot seems to be doing everything right. It should be able to leap $275 million in a single bound.
"Monsters University" (June 21): This Pixar prequel should do what the CGI cartoon house's movies usually do, which is rake in more than $250 million from family audiences.
"Fast & Furious 6" (May 24): The rare action franchise that has only gotten more popular and more successful as it's aged. This installment takes The Rock, Vin Diesel, and the rest of the leadfoot gang to England, where we'll see how fast they can drive on the wrong side of the road. Probably fast enough to earn another $200 million.
HONORABLE MENTION: For "World War Z" (June 21), Brad Pitt and zombies seems like a match made in summer movie heaven. After Melissa McCarthy's success this winter with "Identity Thief," her teaming with Sandra Bullock for another raunchy, R-rated comedy in "The Heat" (June 28) should do sizzling business. Along with "Monsters University," Steve Carell's "Despicable Me 2" (July 3) should be one of the summer's biggest animated hits. Hugh Jackman's last solo X-Men foray wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but anything Marvel is a license to print money, so his "The Wolverine" (July 26) should do fine. August is often a dead zone, but we're looking forward to seeing Matt Damon in "Elysium" (Aug. 9), director Neil Blomkamp's follow-up to his sci-fi sleeper "District 9."
OVERHYPED? "The Great Gatsby" (May 10): Great cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan), but do we really need to see Fitzgerald in 3D? Baz Luhrmann is a visionary director, but that doesn't necessarily translate into summer dollars.
"The Hangover Part III" (May 24): After the disappointing "Part II," is anyone really clamoring to see this one? Plus, it's competing for the same audience of young males as "Fast & Furious 6," opening on the same day.
"After Earth" (May 31): It's seldom smart to bet against Will or Jaden Smith, not to mention both of them together. But director M. Night Shyamalan hasn't exactly been on a roll lately, and the film could take a pounding from Memorial Day entries "Fast & Furious 6" and "The Hangover Part III."
"The Lone Ranger" (July 3): Johnny Depp's unhinged performances are usually delightful, but with his Kabuki-looking Tonto, he's trying to revive a character even creakier than Barnabas Collins of "Dark Shadows." Also, not to slag that nice Armie Hammer, but who goes to see a movie where the sidekick is more charismatic than the hero? Given how expensive and troubled this production was, it'll either be a modest success or an epic failure.
"Pacific Rim" (July 12): Guillermo Del Toro's monsters-vs.-robots epic has geek cred off the charts, but despite what buzz says are stunning visuals, this might not break out beyond the director's fan base.
ALSO-RANS: "White House Down" (June 28) has a few things going for it (star Channing Tatum, master-of-disaster director Roland Emmerich), but didn't "Olympus Has Fallen" steal its thunder? "Grown Ups 2" (July 12), "Red 2" (July 19), "The Smurfs 2" (July 31), "300: Rise of an Empire" (August 2), "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" (August 7), and "Kick-Ass 2" (August 16) all sound like sequels no one asked for. Same with "Cars" spin-off "Planes" (August 9), which was originally meant to go straight to video.