In North America, the vast majority of non-blockbuster product has not lasted more than two weeks on screen this summer. There have been exceptions, including Universal's Knocked Up and MGM's horror 1408. And there was good news for a few niche movies including Waitress, La Vie En Rose, Sicko, Once and in Quebec, the action-thriller Nitro.
Internationally, it is a similar story. The US heavy-hitters are hoovering up as much as 80% of admissions in some markets. Most territories have decided to sit the season out in terms of local product. There have been no major local releases in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain or the UK.
In Japan, Toho finally released the latest instalment of Pokemon in mid-July, while home-grown titles in France have had a light summer after dominating the first quarter of 2007. French summer hits include Studio Canal's Conversations With My Gardener and Diaphana's Persepolis.
Only India and South Korea have continued a regular schedule. India has had a season like the US in which its blockbusters have not been as potent as anticipated, with the recent exception of Eros' Partner. South Korea is seeing good returns for titles such as Cinema Service's Secret Sunshine and Showbox's D-War, as well as a big July debut for CJ Entertainment's May 18.
- LEONARD KLADY
With four weeks to go before the official close of the summer season on Labor Day (September 3), summer 2007 is on course to become the biggest in history. Several of the blockbuster releases are still in play, with The Bourne Ultimatum just launched and Rush Hour 3 imminent.
According to Nielsen EDI, the summer-to-date - which is calculated from the first Friday in May to July 29 - has seen the six majors generate a combined gross of $3.1bn. This compares favourably to the three previous years, which generated $2.8bn in 2006 (first Friday in May to July 30), $2.7bn in 2005 (first Friday in May to July 31) and $3bn in 2004 (first Friday in May to August 1).
The biggest domestic performer of the season is Spider-Man 3, which kicked off the season on May 4 with a record three-day weekend opening of $151.1m and has gone on to gross $336m. Shrek The Third followed on May 18 and finished on $320.1m, and the third Pirates instalment opened on May 25 and ended on $306.9m.
None of these films is the biggest in its franchise, but the combined might of all three opening in the same month and accounting for nearly a $1bn share of summer box office has set the pace. Transformers is closing in on $300m, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix soared past $200m and Ratatouille should also reach $200m. Three others - Die Hard 4.0, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer and the sleeper hit of the summer, the comedy Knocked Up, have each crossed $100m, while The Simpsons Movie was poised to reach the mark last weekend (August 3-5).
Evan Almighty - reportedly the most expensive comedy ever made - has been the season's biggest disappointment and may just trickle past $100m.
- JEREMY KAY.