ANALYSIS: Universal Dates 'Ted 2'; Does Summer 2015 Really Need Another Blockbuster? on October 02, 2013

ted2.pngBy Shawn Robbins

Pop culture comedy fans, rejoice! Universal Pictures announced this morning that Seth MacFarlane's Ted 2 will bow on Friday, June 26, 2015. The original film grossed a stellar $218.7 million domestically and $330.6 million overseas. A sequel was a foregone conclusion after last year's stunning $54.4 million opening weekend.

How will Ted 2 affect the evolving Summer 2015 schedule?

Make no mistake: this is a smart play on Universal's end. For all the blockbusters currently positioned between May and September 2015, this is the first R-rated comedy on the calendar. Given how well films such as The Heat, We're the MillersTed itself, Bridesmaids, and Horrible Bosses have done over the last few summers, moviegoers are clearly demanding more adult-oriented laughers during the lucrative season. Remember how well The Hangover Part II opened in 2011 off the heels of the original's phenomenal reception? Ted 2 is poised to accomplish something very similar.

Ted 2's placement may have an adverse effect on previously established July releases, though. The Terminator reboot and Independence Day 2 are, respectively, slated for July 1 and July 3 openings, and two Fridays later will see the launch of Zack Snyder's still-untitled Superman/Batman flick. Combined with June's Jurassic World and Assassin's Creed, male action fans will get more than their fill of options at the box office. The danger studios now risk is a fate which crippled some of Summer 2013's highest profile flicks: the likes of White House Down, The Lone Ranger, and Pacific Rim faltered domestically in the wake of Man of Steel and World War Z during a string of five consecutive weekends where audiences quickly burnt out on adrenaline rushes.

Interestingly, August 2015 is still barren as no studio has staked a claim in that month (and, of course, everyone is avoiding May thanks to Avengers: Age of Ultron). It seems unlikely that Fox would re-position Independence Day 2, however, Paramount would be wise to consider August for Terminator. Being sandwiched in between Ted 2 and ID4-2 won't be a good way to reinvigorate that franchise, and the final month of summer has proven that it can house solid box office runs through the likes of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the Bourne sequels.

As always, let the game of release date musical chairs play on.

Phil Contrino contributed to this report

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September 2013 Domestic Market Analysis: 'Insidious Chapter 2', 'Prisoners', & August Holdovers Lead End of Q3 on October 02, 2013

sep13.pngBy Shawn Robbins

2013's third quarter came to a close on Monday, and for the fifth straight month this year improved upon 2012's performance. September banked $572.8 million at the box office, up a hairline 0.2 percent from the same month last year. It marked the second best ever September gross behind 2011's $604.16 million.

FilmDistrict's Insidious Chapter 2 won the month with $69.7 million in its first 18 days of release. Among September's releases, Riddick and Prisoners were in tow with $40.2 million and $39.4 million, respectively. However, August holdovers Lee Daniels' The Butler ($42.0 million) and We're the Millers ($37.9 million) were equally as strong with fantastic word of mouth propelling each flick beyond summer's end. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 also contributed with its $34 million opening weekend. Not to be forgotten is Lionsgate's Spanish comedy sleeper, Instructions Not Included, which tallied an impressive $34.1 million throughout its September expansion.

Attendance-wise, September saw slightly fewer moviegoers visit their local cinema for a second straight year as estimated ticket sales dipped 2.2 percent from 2012's comparable month. That follows last year's 5.7 percent decline from September 2011. Since 1993, only two Septembers (2008 and 2010) have posted lower attendance than this past month.

In fairness, such a slide was generally expected after summer's massive success. Moviegoers are beginning to embrace the theatrical experience on a more consistent basis again, but disposable income is still tight for most Americans. 

On the bright side, 2013 as a whole is still pacing ahead of last year by 0.9 percent. The year-to-date domestic box office stands at $8.164 billion, marking the first time in which non-adjusted revenue has eclipsed $8.1 billion before the fourth quarter. That's great news for an industry expecting big things from the upcoming holiday season--not to mention a promising October ahead.

Looking ahead: Last October was built around the dominance of Liam Neeson's Taken 2 (which earned $119 million in its first 27 days), the kind of anticipated sequel that October 2013 lacks. Hotel Transylvania, Looper, Pitch PerfectArgo, Sinister, and Paranormal Activity 4 all played big roles in the month's $672.39 million market gross last year, a figure that could be tough for October 2013 to reach.

Still, we expect strong box office performances from early awards favorites Gravity (opening October 4) and Captain Phillips (October 11). Following those star-driven thrillers, the Carrie remake (October 18) is this Halloween season's unchallenged horror offering while Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (October 25) will aim to continue that franchise's decade-long success. The current first place flick, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, has no competition for its family audience until November, so expect that sequel to hang around for awhile.

Grosses reported in this article represent September 1-September 30, 2013 unless otherwise noted.

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LOS ANGELES -- Fandango, the nation's leading moviegoer destination, announced today that it will provide movie show times, ticketing, movie trailers and original movie preview show "Weekend Ticket" for the new Samsung GALAXY devices.

Fandango's movie ticketing features will be integrated into the soon-to-be-released Samsung GALAXY Note 3, as part of the "Here & Now" service, offering users easy-to-access content based on contextual information and location -- functionality that is highly valued by film fans on the go. Users will also be able to view the latest movie trailers and Fandango's original video series, "Weekend Ticket," a weekly movie preview show hosted by renowned movie expert Dave Karger to help select the movie that is right for them.

"Fandango is proud to support the launch of the new Samsung GALAXY Note 3 device, as we are committed to innovating across all the leading technology platforms," said Paul Yanover, President of Fandango. "With the Samsung GALAXY Note's ‘Here & Now' service, moviegoers will be able to quickly find a movie and buy tickets to a nearby theater through Fandango, enabling a fast and frictionless moviegoing experience."

"We are pleased to work with Fandango to enhance and enrich the key features of the Samsung GALAXY Note 3 ‘Here & Now' service," says TJ Kang, Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics Media Solution Center. "Fandango is providing us with the most comprehensive movie information, services and ticketing access available, making our new service even more appealing to our customers."

Mobile continues to be a strong driver of traffic and ticket sales growth for Fandango. The company just completed its best ticket-selling summer in company history, with mobile representing 44% of overall sales, and mobile tickets seeing a 75% year-over-year increase.

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