As 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment gear up for Friday’s opening of the heavily promoted Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, there’s some question as to whether the North American box office can continue May’s record-setting pace.
The Los Angeles Times reports Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Shrek the Third have grossed more than $250 million domestically, but are fading fast. In addition, ticket sales have slowed when compared to the same period last year.
In 2005, the first Fantastic Four had a $56 million domestic opening weekend.
The box office is only part of the story, though. There’s big money to be made in merchandising; namely, toys.
But as The Los Angeles Times, again, reports, with nine movies pushing toys this summer, the store shelves are a very crowded place. So, which one’s likely to win the toy wars? According to one retailer, Transformers.
“Transformers will be the biggest seller — it’s a movie based on a line of toys that has been popular since the ’80s,” EToys.com’s Sheliah Gilliland tells the newspaper. “They have always been strong sellers but, because of the movie, they are coming back in a huge way.”
The Surfer’s eye on London
For the promotion, a 100-foot image of the Silver Surfer was attached to the center of the enormous wheel — the first time any such construction has been permitted.
The kids, they love the Fantastic Four
We’re not finished with The Los Angeles Times yet. The newspaper also has a sizable interview with Rise of the Silver Surfer director Tim Story, who discusses adjusting the tone after discovering how young the audience for the first film was.
“The film actually played younger than we thought. We found that 8-year-olds and 9-year-olds and even 6-year-olds were able to go watch this movie and have a ball,” he tells the newspaper. “And because it’s younger, we also found that we also got people on the other side of the 25 range because they have to take their kids.”