It was fitting that Robert Downey Jr., otherwise known as Tony
Stark, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange
Downey's new film,
Iron Man 3
, which unofficially kicks off the traditionally lucrative summer
blockbuster season, is set to provide
) with a substantial revenue boost. While not likely to be the
astounding breakout hit domestically that last summer's
, Iron Man 3
is projected by box office sites like BoxOfficeMojo.com to gross
some $400 million, which would probably make it the top-grossing
film of 2013.
Robert Downey Jr. ringing the opening bell at the NYSE. Source:
Screencap of video taken from CNBC.com
Thanks to the popularity of the Marvel superhero, Disney is likely
to be the top-performing movie studio of the six major players this
summer. The company is also releasing another much-anticipated
, which is likely to earn close to $300 million.
UBS is also positive about Disney's Marvel investments, upgrading
the stock to Buy from Neutral earlier this week and lifting its
price target to $72 from $55.
The biggest risk of the Mouse House this summer is its
The Lone Ranger
, starring Johnny Depp. With little buzz so far and an estimated
budget of $250 million, the Western will find it hard to match its
price tag domestically. Disney will have to hope that Depp's star
power can boost the movie's international take.
And just as the 2012 summer box office battle was about
The Dark Knight Rises
, the strongest challenger to
Iron Man 3
will be the other marquee DC Comic character, Superman.
) reboot of the iconic character,
Man of Steel
, has gotten strong advance press and is forecast to gross about
Based on the strength of
Man of Steel
, Warner Bros. should comfortably become the No. 2 studio of the
summer after Disney. Warner also has another guaranteed hit in the
The Hangover 3
, which should gross at least $140 million.
Also garnering a lot of buzz for Warner is Baz Luhrmann's flashy
The Great Gatsby
, whose striking visuals and so-hip-it-hurts soundtrack could push
the film past the coveted $100 million mark.
With fewer high-profile franchise properties,
) will be battling for third place in the summer box office fight.
The former should just about edge out the latter, thanks to another
, which could gross up to $150 million.
Fox is also releasing one of the rare summer movies targeted at the
underserved female demographic: the Sandra Bullock and Melissa
McCarthy buddy cop comedy
. The female audience could power
to $150 million domestically as well.
Sony, meanwhile, will be counting on the star power of Will Smith
, Matt Damon in
, and Adam Sandler in
Grown Ups 2
to bring home the box office bacon. All three movies are expected
to gross between $100 million and $120 million.
With fewer films on their slates,
(VIAB) will likely bring up the rear this summer. Universal should
take the fifth spot with two red-hot franchise properties,
Fast and Furious 6
Despicable Me 2
. Paramount has one surefire hit
, Star Trek Into Darkness
, but Brad Pitt's expensive adaptation of the popular zombie novel
World War Z
could be a bust if reviews are unkind.
Regardless of how well each individual studio does, however,
experts expect a new box office record to be set this summer,
surpassing the record total of $4.4 billion in 2011. Last year, the
summer movie season yielded a disappointing $4.29 billion in total.