It’s been a long time coming, but 2011’s box office figures are at last beginning to look up. After a succession of depressive months that were significantly down on their counterparts last year (and in preceding years, in many cases) the onset of early blockbusters has revitalised what was becoming a vaguely depressing start to the year.
Marvel will be happy so far with Thor’s performance, in particular as it was an untested franchise. Its numbers haven’t been mind-boggling, but it opened before the traditionally strong summer period and has had the surprisingly well-reviewed and resilient Fast 5 to compete with. As we predicted back in the last issue of the mag, 3D vampire-slaying flick Priest has suffered at the hands of bigger and more well-known opposition and looks set to struggle.
Summer begins in a more traditional slot soon with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, a film which, for embargo reasons, we cannot yet share our opinion on. Suffice it to say, it’s pretty damn (embargoed). The fourth film in the franchise – which has in the past set box offices aflame – will surely overtake Thor, Fast 5 and Rio and rush to the top of the yearly chart.
It’s fair to say that while blockbuster season is finally grinding into gear, there hasn’t been a tent-pole release yet: something big and brilliant. Thor has been received fairly warmly, as has Fast 5, but nothing has yet blown our socks off, or really ignited the box office. It hasn’t been the strongest start to the mainstream year – quality and box office-wise – but things are only just getting started.