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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Can Box Office Winners And Losers Be Predicted?

Actors Jaden Smith and Will Smith are pictured in a promotional image from "After Earth." (Columbia Pictures)

Actors Jaden Smith and Will Smith are pictured in a promotional image from “After Earth.” (Columbia Pictures)

Summer movies are the realm of the giant blockbuster, but can you tell by looking at a movie’s budget whether it will be a box office hit?

Linda Holmes, host of NPR’s pop culture blog Monkey See says no — but studio executives are counting on making back that money.

“When you see a company spending $130 million, which is what ‘After Earth’ cost — that’s actually relatively modest for a Blockbuster, believe it or not — they’re not looking for an ordinary box office experience. They’re looking for a gigantic hit,” Holmes said.

Holmes says there are usually both thematic and budgetary clues when studios expect big business at the box office.

“You’re looking at a potential planned blockbuster whenever you see lots and lots of explosions and big famous people and sometimes an attachment to a franchise,” she said.

Studios also worry about their films appealing to foreign audiences.

“‘The Avengers’ was the number one movie in America last year and it made about 60 percent of its money overseas.”

Guest:

  • Linda Holmes, host of NPR’s pop culture blog Monkey See.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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